Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Growing up in Suburbia, USA, we never really experienced a culture other than white, middle-class America. Our holidays were national or religious holidays that everyone around us celebrated. We may have experienced Cinco de Mayo in Spanish class, but nothing more. Clearly, Cinco de Mayo wasn't taught correctly either but I digress. Fast forward to Russia, and it seems like every day there is some type of holiday or festival, whether it's national or regional. I'm not complaining though because I like a day off.
On Tuesday I walked into work to people asking me if I knew about Sabantuy. "Didn't we just celebrate Russia Day?" I thought. Yep, Russia Day was Sunday, but the middle of June marks Sabantuy, or the festival of the plow.
I don't know if I mentioned before but Russia is made up of many different ethnic groups. Much like Americans, Russians aren't actually an ethnicity but a nationality. In the Republic of Bashkortostan the two major groups are Bashkirs and Tatars. These groups definitely influence the culture of the region which makes it different from the more European parts of Russia.
Sabantuy doesn't have a specific start date but usually begins around June 15-July 1. It's a celebration of the end of the planting season. What sets Sabantuy apart from other festivals is the influence of sporting events and relays, like putting a spoon in your mouth with an egg on the end.
I didn't get to experience the actual celebration in the rural areas, but the children at the camp partook in a relay with similar activities. I don't think I need to go into detail because you'll be familiar with many of them.
Are there any interesting festivals where you live?