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Altai Discovery Team Altai Discovery Team

The territory of the Altai Republic is rich in the monuments of culture and history, possesses a unique heritage of material and spiritual culture of the past, revealed in ancient customs and rituals of the indigenous population.
Here there are dozens of thousands of archeological and ethnographical monuments. The nations living o n the territory of the Republic possess rich folklore heritage.
The Altaian holidays are a fascinating sight. Such as, for example, interregional people's holiday El-Oiyn held in various regions of the Republic since 1988, Chaga-Bairam, Dylgayak and many others.
Each region presents its best - talents, merits and features - for the popular holidays held in the Altai Republic. Tourists and guests may see spectacular historical performances telling about the past of the Altaian people (about the characters of the legends, myths and eposes). There are various concerts and competitions held during such holidays. Here, o ne may buy various articles of folklore and enjoy local sights.


The holiday of El-Oiyn or "all people's holiday" is the traditional national holiday of all the peoples and folklore groups living in Altai. Thousands of people go to the mountains in summer to get plunged into the spontaneity of people's revelry. El-Oiyn is a "nomadic" holiday. The reason is probably the Altaian ancestors' nomadic life - it was hard for ancient Altaians to keep their place and they preferred long journeys. With this holiday, the Altaian people returned the lost moral values. El-Oiyn means shows of folklore groups of all dialects of the people. Perfect spectacles in the open air give a touch of antiquity. Colorful national costumes and rows of yurtas and ails make a perfect ensemble with hospitality of the people.

National sport games, where o ne could see "kuresh"-wrestlers, power-lifting competitions, up-hill racing, national chess - "shatra" tournaments, "kamchi"-lash playing, and others give a touch of ardor and excitement to the holiday. 
But horse-racing is of course the most spectacular show of this holiday. National rodeo - Emdik Uredish - means not o nly sport but also risk. 
The final performance of sportsmen-horseracers o n the fastest horses capable of great endurance - argymaks - may be called a culmination of the whole sport holiday, where the winner gets a valuable prize - a motor car.
The constantly rising number of guests proves the holiday's attractiveness - people come from the neighboring territories of Altai Region, as well as from Kemerovo, Tuva, Khakassia, Moscow, St.Petersburg, and even from Mongolia, China, Turkey and other states.


Chaga-Bairam is translated as "White holiday". This is a holiday forgotten long ago. For the first time it was held in a distant Alpine Tchuiskaya steppe, because these were the Tchuyans, who preserved the lamaist ritual of New Year celebration. This holiday is celebrated together with the Mongolians, Tuvinians, Buryats, Kalmyks and the peoples of Tibet and India
The holiday starts with the new moon at the end of February - beginning of March. The rituals of worshiping of the Sun and Altai start from early morning. There is a special tagyl - altar where people bring diary produce, tie kyira - ribbons, make fire and all this is accompanied by wishing happiness. Usually the ritual is carried out by men, who had been keeping the fast with sutras reading, etc.
After the ritual is over, the holiday starts - people gather and various cultural and sport activities take place - people toboggan from hills o n sledges and animal skins etc.


Pagan holiday Dylgayak is like Shroventide for the Russians. Though many of the peoples adopted Christianity, this holiday symbolizing paganism is still preserved and celebrated. This day people gather in the open air. People burn straw men as symbols of the passing year. Various masquerades are held where people wear motley clothes. Usually a fair is held and side-shows with singing are organized.

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