Sabantui or Wedding of the Sowing Season
The most important celebration of my Tatar culture is Sabantui. “Sabantui” is translated as “Wedding of the Sowing Season.” There are many sport competitions such as marathons, races, etc.
In the midst of June the villages are crowded by guests. They come from urban centers to celebrate “Sabantui” with villagers. The Council of Elders is chosen from respected old village inhabitants. Decision of the Council of Elders is never disputed. They direct every step of the celebration. Many gifts are gathered for losers and winners at sport competitions (losers are more considered.) Gifts are distributed by Elders.
We, children, of the village were participants of Sabantui. In the early morning we were awakened by music and knocking at the gates of the theatrical passage. Decorated horses that were driven by Elders were stopped near our houses. The music of their bells was heard far in the distance. Our parents were “begged” for gifts by dancers, clowns, and singers of the procession.
A start of the Sabantui usually was appointed at noon. A place for the celebration, a flowered valley that was encircled by Ural hills and mountain springs was chosen by Elders and children. Approximately at 12:00 pm the valley was covered by sitting public on the ground. A center column with colored wood cockerel on the top was hung round with decorated flags. For me the most exiting competition was a horse race. “A riding horses will grow old – the expanses of the steppes never, a boy will grow old – the Time never,” is said in Tatar proverb. A public uproar was interrupted by young shouters: “The racers are coming!” The air was broken by the cheering, the land was drummed by of hundreds hooves of riding horses with jockeys on.
During my life many games have been played, a lot of songs have been sung, a lot of dances have been danced on Sabantui. But I have been being influenced by the vision of the flying horses upon flowered fields since I was a child.