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Tatar People: Their Customs and Traditions
August 24, 2018 09:12


Tatars are the Turkic people living in the central part of European Russia, as well as in the Volga area, the Urals, Siberia, the Far East, and the Crimea. They also inhabit Kazakhstan, the states of Central Asia and even the Chinese autonomous republic of XUAR. In Russia there are about 5.3 million people of the Tatar nationality, which makes 4 percent of the total population of this country. 37 percent of all the Tatars of Russia live in the Republic of Tatarstan with its capital city of Kazan and make up the bulk (53 per cent) of the republic’s entire population. Most of the Tatars are Sunni Muslims, though some are Orthodox Christians and non-religious. Tatar traditions of household and family life are mostly preserved in villages and settlements.
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The Echoes of Antiquity
The culture and traditions of the Tatar people are connected with both religion and secular life.
Religious Traditions

Religious holidays are usually very similar to each other. During their celebrations, common customs and traditions of the Tatar people are widely observed.
Let’s enumerate them briefly:

-          morning prayer;

-          visiting the cemetery;

-          cooking traditional Tatar dishes;

-          greetings of all relatives and neighbors, with special attention paid to parents;

-          the distribution of gifts.


The Biggest Religious Holidays

A well-known religious holiday is Kurban-Bayram, aka Festival of Sacrifice. On that day, believers must necessarily sacrifice an animal, as well as visit the mosque and give alms there.

Mawlid is the holiday celebrating the birthday of Muhammad. It is celebrated by all Muslims, so it is of great importance for this religion.
Nowruz is celebrated by the Tatars on March 21, the Spring Equinox Day. On this day it is customary to have fun and merrymaking, because the more joyful the people will be, the more gifts they will be given by Nature. The Day of the Republic of Tatarstan is another national holiday. Its celebration is similar to the City's Day celebrations all over Russia and is crowned with large-scale firework displays.
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Earlier, when the Tatars had pagan beliefs, they had authentic rituals aimed at appeasing the spirits and making natural forces manageable. One of them was Yangyr Teleu. It was carried out if a drought occurred. To perform it, the ritual participants gathered near a water source and addressed Allah with prayers for rain and a good harvest. Then they ate traditional festive treats together and poured water all over their bodies. For a stronger effect, the ritual of sacrifice could be performed as well.

Universal Joy of Sabantuy, the Sowing Celebration
Probably the most famous Tatar holiday is called Sabantuy. It is widely celebrated by the Tatars everywhere, even in big cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg, though it is a sowing holiday. Sabantuy is connected with the end of spring agricultural work and is celebrated in summer. The name of the holiday means “the plow’s wedding”. The celebrations fall into two parts: giving and receiving gifts, and a variety of competitions, such as the national wrestling called “Koresh”, long and high jumps, running and horse racing. The best horses take part in the races, because this competition is considered very prestigious. Riders are usually boys from 8 to 12 years of age.
Every woman, married within a year after the previous Sabantuy, handmade a richly embroidered and ornamented towel. It was considered the most valuable gift and the best samples turned to be prizes to the winners.
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READ MORE ARTICLES ABOUT REPUBLIC OF TATARSTAN...

National Tatar Cuisine
In the Tatar families, the recipes of national cuisine are kept and handed down from generation to generation. Their favourite traditional dishes are hearty and tasty, mostly made from meat, such as lamb, beef, and poultry. Read about Top 5 Tatar Dishes to Try when Travelling in Ka
zan.
Read about Gourmet Tours in Russia  
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Traditional Russian Dishes You Should Try 

 

 




Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Tatar Cuisine Tatar Traditions Republic of Tatarstan Kazan Gourmet Tours 

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