Due to Sakha origins of my wife I took part in traditional Sakha selebration called Ysyakh. The event took place in village Borogontsy and then I saw it in Yakutsk. The festival has originated from Inner Asian traditions.
Ysyakh is the Sakha people New Year. Ysyakh is a typical cult holiday in the nature revival. It is celebrated for several days in June, including the 21 June – summer solstice. It is the symbol of welcome summer and the awakening of nature. The Sakha ancestor brought this celebration from central Asian steppes. The origin of this summer festival comes from Inner Asia.
Sakha ancestors were nomads and moved with their cattle to pasture in the steppe. Elements of the Sakha festival are similar to those of other Turkic peoples: Tuvinians, Altayans, Tatars and Bashkirs. The festival opens with the solemn ritual of feeding the fire. The festival area is arranged with rows of new birches — chechir — for guests of honor. In the beginning it was concerned with the cult of Sun divinity and with traditional economical activity.
The Sakha people celebrate Ysyakh as the holiday of renovation of nature and Human being. Traditionally, the address to supreme Sakha divinities Iyh was the culmination of celebration. Competition of olonhosuts (narrator of folk tales), round dance Osoyochay, kumyus drinking (kumyus is fermented mare’s milk), sport competitions and horse races are obligatory elements of Ysyakh. In the 1930’s the festival was banned, and instead sport competitions were carried on. Since 1991 Ysyakh became a state festival.