by Aldis Pūtelis
A controversial deity, being attributed many different functions and etymologies. Namely:
- The Latvian god of horses, honored with a sacrifice of a black rooster (Stribingius);
- The ancient Latvian god of light as compared to Sanskrit Uṣas, the goddess of early dawn (Haralds Biezais' theory, see Lichtgott der alten Letten (1976);
- A god of bees, etymologized from uzas ("pants"), with some texts saying that those of Usins are yellow.
The latter explanation is little credible as it uses a German word to interpret a supposedly ancient Latvian deity. A typical example of a somewhat obscure deity.
According to the theory put forward by Biezais, Ūsiņš is the god of light in Latvian mythology and closely connected to the morning star or the evening star. In other traditions (as derivable from the texts) he is also the protector of bees and horses. As such he receives many offerings.
Ūsiņš was associated with Jurģi celebration, a spring festival coinciding with the feast in honor of Saint George on April 23rd.
- Schoeps, Hans-Joachim. (1961). The Religions of Mankind. Garden City: Doubleday, p. 121.