Celebration of the traditional Reindeer Herder’s Day in Olenyok, Yakutia

With this post I would like to start telling you a little bit about different regions and nations in Yakutia. Because besides the Yakutsk city there are 34 districts (“ulusu”) of the Republic Sakha (Yakutia) and each of them includes even more towns and villages. Let’s begin with the Olenyokski district.

The center of this land of wild deer and fearless Evenki has a proud name – Olenyok village. The name is so ancient that its meaning is still unknown. Here for many years the deer and human beings, nature and mining industry, taiga and tundra have been together. Evenki are the indigenous ethnos of Transbaikalia. Until 1931, the Russians called the Tungus. They used to call themselves Orochons, which means “a person who owns a deer”.

Once a year in Olenyok takes place The Reindeer Herders’ Day. The main festival for all Evenks, and a good reason for all tourists to visit the village. It is usually celebrated on the last weekend of March. The program of the celebration includes exhibitions held in schools and museums, folk performance in the cultural center, and various competitions. On the day of the festival, you can try Evenkis’ food and have a look inside of local tents put up on the river between the Olenyok and Haryyalah villages. At the festival, you will explore the reindeer lifestyle and culture and see competitions of reindeer-sledding, the battle of the Hosuns (Evenki’s the strongest men), cooking competitions, folk artist performances, singing and dancing competitions, and theatrical shows. Such a festival is simply impossible to forget.

There is an airport in the village, so the quickest way to get there is by plane. It costs around 18 000 rubles from Yakutsk. Olenyok is a place for those who know how to live in harmony with nature. Now you have one more reason to travel to Yakutia!

Enjoy an amazing video by very talented Dmitriy Lyasheev and stay tuned with our news!

Best regards, Lena