two brightly dressed female effigies, laid out as for a wake

The Funeral of Stroma

Every summer, to bring the rain, the people of Shutilovo make effigies of “Stroma” and her daughter. The pair are laid out as for a funeral, and the villagers gather round to perform traditional laments and discuss the cause of death. The “mourners” come up with hilariously crazy explanations, often drawing on themes in the news (gender dysphoria, inadequate pensions, etc.) In the end Stroma and her daughter are torn to pieces, and rain follows soon after. Join this expedition team to document the ritual and interview the locals to uncover Stroma’s history and contemporary meaning for the people of Shutilovo.

Photo by Lily Posner.