Try the tastiest meals of Tuvinian national cuisine, appreciate arts and crafts, ride the best runners, see the grand performance – khuresh fight – where best fighters of Tuva and Mongolia participate, root for the archery competition participants, choose the best yurt of Tuva, meet the famous guttural singers, spend all night in a Buddhist monastery, praying with Lama about the prosperity of all living creatures, participate in the ancient ceremony “san salyr” at the sunrise together with men – all this is possible to do at the big celebrations of Tuvinian nation. Indigenous Tuvinian culture opens in all its beauty and to the full extent during the most meaningful favorite celebrations which are rooted in deep ancient times: Naadym – the celebration of cattle-breeders – and Shagaa – the New year celebration according to Eastern moon calendar. Tuvinians honor these two events a lot and prepare to them thoroughly in advance. One cannot just miss them.
Naadym is connected to Tuvinian way of life and is known as a celebration of cattle-breeder mermaids.Its cradlesare connected to the ancient history and ritual-cult dimension of mermaid Tuvinians – clan sacrifice to spirits of particular place, ancestors. It comes from Mongolian word “naadam” – celebration, competition, games. It is held every year in the middle of August. Why exactly at that time? Because the middle of the summer was considered the time of abundance and prosperity, when cattle was well-fed, there was a variety of dairy, and all the nature was a blossoming grace. One could set a great feast and invite all relatives and friends.
The celebration cannot go without necessary elements – national fight “khuresh”, horse races, archery where girls participate as well, contests for best national yurt, costume and horse harness.
The celebration lasts a few days. In addition to different interesting competitions (hair rope braiding, horse equipping, felt production) during Naadym International Felt Festival is held already for several years. It has become a genuine performance which attracts representatives of the neighboring regions and countries. Its necessary and important element is a contest-defile of the felt costumes and crafts, where specialists and lovers of all the best and most creative come. Master-classes in felting are also held there.
The most spectacular final part of Naadym is a concert and a firework at the quay or at the city central square Araga. At this moment standing at Yenisei bank you can experience unforgettable moments, feel light blow of the wind from the river, wonderful atmosphere of rest and unconcern, lightness and connection to the Universe. You will recognize yourself in the center of Asia.
Shagaa is a celebration of New Year according to Eastern moon calendar, which is celebrated in the end of January and the beginning of February, i.e. in the beginning of the White month. It is a very deep Tuvinian tradition connected to the world-view and spiritual life of the nation. New Year is necessarily welcomed at the sunrise which always symbolizes beginning, dawn, renewal and the first day of new year. You will surely observe that Tuvinians, especially adults, don’t go to bed not to miss the moment when new year comes. Many of them are likely to spend the night in a Buddhist monastery where monks will hold a special service and read mantras. Why? – you’ll ask. It is connected to the belief which all Tuvinians, both great and small, know: it is believed, that Buddha is running all over the Earth in his chariot, he takes sleeping people for dead and doesn’t bless them. At the sunrise all the men hold their own rite, “san salyry”, at the top of holy mountains. It is an ancient rite carrying the information about their ancestors, their way of thinking and spiritual life.
All Tuvinians visit their relatives on the day of New Year, especially old and aged ones, give each other presents, cook national meals. They try to carry only clear and positive thoughts because on this day all offenses and sorrows should be forgiven and forgotten.
During these holidays the inner life of Tuvinians is opened comprehensively; their world-view is reflected, eternal inviolable principles strongly connected to faith in Mother Nature, their ancestors and history.