Sabantuy unites people: how plough festival goes online

Belarusians, Cossacks, Yakuts and Tatars, of course, sang, danced and played games at a safe distance from spectators

Sabantuy unites people: how plough festival goes online

Sabantuy took place on different sites of the city and in live transmission of Tatarstan mass media on 4 July, from the very morning till late evening. For the first time, it was online. Spectators watched the festive programme on TV, on websites and in social networks, transmissions have had thousands of views. As for the rest, everything was usual — athletes competed on a wrestling mat for the main prize, while artists performed keeping the mood up. And they succeeded — the popular “distance party” was a success. Read in Realnoe Vremya’s report how Sabantuy was celebrated in Tatarstan.

Congratulations from different regions, countries and the past

The festive online marathon began early in the morning on TNV channel, Bolgar Radio radio station and on the website of Tatar-inform agency. TNV hosts reminded the audience that the name of this labour festival stemmed from the Turkic words “saban” — plough and “tuy” — festival. In the past, Sabantuy used to be celebrated in honour of the beginning of spring field works (now it marks their end). Famous people and residents of the republic’s districts congratulated people of Tatarstan on TNV from 7 a.m. The TV channel showed previous Sabantuys that were held in different parts of the world.

On this day, the Tatar language, folk songs and music sounded again in Australia, the USA, China, Kazakhstan. People in bright national costumes danced, played games, had fun. The TV channel also showed the celebration of Sabantuy in Udmurtia, Chuvashia, Orenburg, Astrakhan, Penza Oblasts, Perm Krai. There were communicated warm words, congratulations on the festival on the screen.

A concert with Tatar traditions, history of the people and the modern time continued the transmission at 12 o’clock. A part of the performance took place in Native Village complex. Guests and hosts in bright embroidered costumes sang songs and danced to garmon, reminded the audience of ancient Tatar customs and rites, helped themselves to sweets and tea from a painted samovar.


Over 300 Sabantuy sites in the world

At 15 o’clock, the festival opened at Kazan Hippodrome where mainly artists, athletes and organisers of the celebration gathered. Hosts Danir Sabirov and Gulnaz Safarova promised the spectators that despite the online format, they would create “an atmosphere of the real popular celebration of the merriest festival of the Tatars, a holiday of peace, friendship and labour”.

Venera Ganeyeva, Rayaz Fasikhov, Marsel Vagizov, Chulpan Yusupova, Yamle trio, Sornay group performed at the concert. Between songs and dances, the hosts reminded the audience that Sabantuy in Kazan had long been held at Arsk Field when it wasn’t built up. Then the venue moved to New Tatar Settlement, while nowadays Sabantuy is hosted in Birch Grove in Privolzhsky District.

“Sabantuy that has been celebrated as a calendar custom to honour wakening up nature since ancient times is the main national holiday of Tatars, a component of their lifestyle. Today we can name the only record of the Bulgarian period, it was found in July in 1979 in an ancient in Alki District — the landmark proves that Sabantuy has been celebrated in Tatarstan since the late 18th century,” the hosts said.

The festival didn’t stop being celebrated even during the Civil War, hunger and poverty. A big screen showed documents about the celebration of Sabantuy in the 1920s. During those years, it was celebrated in Kazan near Kaban Lake. The poster showed that wrestling competitions were held for several days. While guests from other republics arrived in Sabantuy by the 15th anniversary of the TASSR.

“Now it is hosted more than in 300 cities of the world. The geography of this festival in Russian cities and abroad grows year after year. In 2019, 361 Sabantuys were celebrated with state support, including 282 in 57 Russian regions and 79 in 28 countries of far and near abroad,” the hosts said.

By Yekaterina Ablayeva