A person can adapt to different environments, but those who show flexibility rather than seek to subjugate nature are more likely to survive
< h3>INDIGENOUS RESIDENTS
Self-designation -Sakha (plural -Sakhalar). The total number & nbsp; is about 480,000 people. Most of them live in Yakutia. According to one of the hypotheses, the Yakut ethnos arose in the 15th-16th centuries. in the Lena basin at the confluence of local residents with newcomers from the Baikal region. Before Christianization, which began in the 18th century, local beliefs were professed, which have partly survived to this day.
Historically, they are engaged in cattle breeding and draft reindeer herding, gathering, fishing and hunting. The Yakut folk epic “Olonkho” is included in the UNESCO World Intangible Heritage List, and throat singing and the Yakut jew's harp khomus have been introduced into the musical culture of the Yakuts.
Born in 1987 in Verkhoyansk in the family of a school teacher and an accountant, one of four children. Graduated from the Faculty of Biology and Geography of the North-Eastern Federal University with a degree in geography. He did internships on Lake Baikal and in Mongolia, studied at a language school in China.
Works with his older sister (in 2020. — Note by Vokrugsveta.ru) in a family travel company that organizes tours for the Yakuts in Central Russia. In addition to Russian and Yakut, he speaks spoken Chinese, English and Portuguese.
“Almost all men are hunters”
A Yakut feels cold from birth —and adapts to it as best he can. In order not to freeze, we eat a lot of fatty meat. I remember when I was a child, my father always brought home huge fat hares from hunting. I was sad that they were dead, and I asked my father to bring live bunnies.
In Yakutia, especially in the north, almost all men are hunters. Fathers pass on their skills to their sons. It is customary to share booty with single women, old people. Almost everyone fishes, they set up a net: in the north there are the most fishing places! Carp the size of a plate, muksun, whitefish, peled, sturgeon …
Vegetable Yakuts also do not disdain food. We collect ten buckets of berries and mushrooms in summer and autumn. Sometimes in the taiga it is slippery from oiling! We collect cloudberries, lingonberries, currants, blueberries, blueberries, raspberries – we have them wild, they grow on rocks … We make jam or freeze to preserve vitamins. But there are no vegetarians among the Yakuts: you won't last long here without meat.
You can’t survive in our frosts without natural fur: no, even the most high-tech, artificial materials can replace it. For as long as I can remember, I have always been dressed like a cabbage, in layered, heavy clothes. From the skins and fur of a deer, we sew high fur boots, mittens, hats. Hunting boots are made of soft deerskin, footcloths made of hare skin with fur are put on inside – and go even in minus 60!
It may seem that we are killing all living things around. This is wrong. In Yakutia, there is an unspoken code of ethical hunting. If in some season the population of hares, for example, is critically reduced, people try to kill them as little as possible, leaving the females. On the other hand, hares are also pests: if they breed too much, they will gnaw all the trees, which means there will be problems with firewood. By the way, we also don’t chop trees at random – we use dead wood for firewood. Nature does not forgive negligence.
A striking example of a barbaric attitude towards the world around us is diamond mining. I saw a diamond quarry in the village of Mirny: it's a huge gaping hole. A true symbol of human greed! Due to underground explosions, water pollution has occurred, pastures have shrunk.
Man must know his place in nature. For the Yakuts, the search for this place is not a figure of speech, but a natural life process. For example, yurts are usually built on a hillock, and in such a way that on the north side there is a slope or dense forest nearby, which can protect from the cold wind. The door should face south or east. In the old days, when choosing a place for a yurt, they also looked at where cows like to lie. By observing the habits of animals, we learned a lot from them.
The scariest animal is the bear. Very smart, cunning. Hunting him is a special profession. Our hunters have a belief that you can only kill 99 bears in your lifetime, because the 100th bear will kill you.
For the first time I went hunting when I was a preschooler – along with my father, uncle and cousin. At some point, he fell behind. Not a soul around, I cried out of fear. And suddenly a huge white owl flew by. It looked strange: it was daytime, and owls are usually active at night. Right on the fly, the bird turned its head 180 degrees and looked at me point-blank – as it seemed to me, reproachfully. I immediately stopped crying, and soon they found me. Grandmother later said that in the form of an owl, the spirit of the forest and hunting Bayanay appeared to me. “Until now, many Yakuts keep a ponytail at home as a talisman”
We, the Yakuts, still believe in the spirits of nature – ichchi. We try not to anger them, we appease them. In order not to anger the spirit of the rivers and lakes of Ebe, you can not pollute water bodies, throw sharp objects into the water. If you suddenly drop the knife, you need to immediately pull it out. And we feed the spirit of fire Wat Ukhkhan: when we cook food, we throw a piece of meat, pancakes, a pinch of tea leaves into the fire; at weddings, we make a fire in a clay pot and pour melted butter into it.
Above the spirits in the pagan pantheon of the Yakuts are deities – aiyy. One of the most revered & nbsp; is Dyosögy Toyon, the patron saint of horses. If we anger him (hunt too often, pollute pastures), then he will take our horses away from us, send pestilence on them. Until now, as a talisman, many Yakuts keep a ponytail at home. The bird god Khomporuun Hotoy Aiyy, who punishes people for killing eagles, and the goddess Isegei Ieyiehsit, who gives us cattle, are also considered important. life
From time immemorial, the Yakuts have been engaged in cattle breeding, but it differs from what is practiced in central Russia. For example, the Yakut horse does not stand all the time in a paddock and in winter it looks for food for itself: it digs grass out from under the snow. The reindeer that we (by the way, only in the north) are bred on farms are still half wild, they are free-grazing almost all the time, walking on their own. Probably, our nomadic way of life, which was replaced by a settled one relatively recently, played an important role in this.
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“We welcome travelers, we are always ready to help both relatives and strangers”
Nomadism, obviously, determined the national Yakut character. We are not very sociable, not emotional, rather closed people. Everyone lives in their own shell. But at the same time, we welcome travelers, we are always ready to help both relatives and strangers. The guest will certainly be fed and watered, and if someone's car breaks down on the highway in the cold, people passing by will definitely help him.
Mutual assistance is a condition for survival in a harsh climate. Almost every family has a hunting lodge in the taiga or on the banks of the river. In summer it is used as a dacha, but in winter they do not lock the door, leaving firewood inside. Any hunter or a lost traveler can come in, warm up, rest, spend the night. Often, guests also leave something behind for the hosts or other travelers – food, tea leaves. This literally saves lives for many, especially in winter, when the temperature drops below minus 50.
Verkhoyansk is the northernmost city of Yakutia and the coldest city in the world. Roshydromet has officially recognized it as the cold pole of the Northern Hemisphere. But it is not cold here all year round: in June -July the real summer comes.
On the day of the summer solstice, before haymaking, we celebrate our only national holiday, Ysyakh. It symbolizes the overcoming of winter, the rebirth of nature. Prayers are held – Algyz. In the old days, shamans did this, but now there are almost no real ones left, their role is played by mummers. We pray that the sun shines brightly, the earth is fertile and everyone finds happiness and harmony.
There is a belief that the one who sees the mating dance of the Siberian Crane will certainly become happy. This is not easy to do: white cranes, unfortunately, are endangered. But the Yakuts came up with another way, more accessible: find a round stone with a hole, make a wish and throw it away.
Happiness for a Yakut is, first of all, a successful hunt: to kill an elk, to provide food for the family for the winter. In Yakutia, the entire annual life cycle is built around preparing for winter. Insulate the car and house, collect dead wood, cut ice on the river to stock up on clean drinking water …
We strive to save everything that is possible, to conserve. For us, a self-assembled tablecloth is forest-tundra and taiga. So, you need to live with an eye on later, for a rainy day. Calculate resources & nbsp; – both own and natural. Probably, this is the harmony of our life, since we still have not died out in completely inhuman, it would seem, conditions.
< strong>Area of Verkhoyansk 25 km²
Population density 33 people/km²
Area of Yakutia 3,083,523 km² (1st place in Russia)
Population 996,000 people (51st place)
Population density 0.32 people/km²
SIGHTSthe remnant rocks of Kigilyakh, resembling human figures in shape, the Verkhoyansk Range – a mountain system with picturesque hiking trails along the picturesque mouths of rivers and lakes, the Pole of Cold museum of local lore with a collection of 13,000 items.
TRADITIONAL DISHES< /strong> “Indigirka” salad with fresh-frozen chir fish, boiled bear meat, dumplings and fried pies with venison.
TRADITIONAL DRINKS classic and reindeer koumiss.
SOUVENIRS diamonds, fragments of fossil mammoth tusks, amulets in the form of a bear's claw and a fang of a polar wolf, Yakut knives with a handle made of birch burl.
DISTANCEfrom Moscow to Verkhoyansk ~ 4680 km (8 hours in flight excluding transfers to Batagay, then 70 km by road)
TIMEis ahead of Moscow by 7 hours
Photo: GEOPHOTO/BIOPHOTO/Sergey Karpukhin, Kolotilin Andrian (X2), Karpukhin Sergey (X3), Mikhailov Konstantin (X2)/GEOPHOTO, NPL/LEGION-MEDIA< /p>
Material published in Vokrug Sveta No. 7, September 2020, partially updated in March 2023