Sabantuy: Colors, Dances, Foods in Tatar Summer Festival

Do you love festivals? From gay pride events to multi-day music festivals, film festivals, art shows, and cultural events; summer festivals are a pervasive part of summer experience in every part of the world. Whether you are camping on-site or it is happening downtown during daytime, summer festivals will always offer you a splendid experience.

European cities are known as hosts of countless festivals during the summer. And if you plan to pay a visit to one of these cities, make sure you do it when there is a festival on. You may also check Russian stunning music festivals.

It will make your travel experience slightly different than on any other occasion because there is always something special when traveling for summer festivals. The atmosphere would be different; the people would be friendlier; the destination would feel more alive, more energetic, and more fun.

Russian Summer Festivals

Summer is short for most parts of Russia so do not be surprised when you see it crammed with fantastic outdoor events of all sorts. From the riverside weekend feast where breathtaking marching band shows to the event where music meets technology, there are summer festivals for everyone.

The long-awaited coming of warm spring days in Russia means long sunny days, lilacs and apple trees in bloom, balmy white nights, and an inevitable arrival of festival season. In these past few years, Russia has seen a festival boom with new music, food, theatre, sports, and land art festivals springing up all around the country.

In this article, I will present you my handpicked selection of one of the best Russian festival for summer called Sabantuy: colors, dances, foods in Tatar Summer Festival. I am here to take you on a trip through the Russian splendid summer festival in the mainland Russia in search of sunflower fields full of quaint art objects and perhaps some new cultural identity.

Sabantuy, Tatar Summer Festival

Russian people are celebrating an old tradition to commemorate the end of the spring planting. It is a time for everyone in Russia to let their hair down and party. The old tradition is actually a summer festival originated from Tatar and is called Sabantuy. Saban means plough and Tuy means celebration. If you wish to enjoy the Tartar ethno-folklore world full of songs, colors, and religious motives, you ought to attend one in Russia anytime soon.

Sabantuy is an ancient holiday of Tatars and Bashkirs, people who came from the Caucasus and Ural Mountains near eastern Siberia. The festival is a long old tradition among farming communities which was going back to the times when Tatar and Bashkir nations were roaming tribes.

Traditional Entertainments in Sabantuy

Traditional entertainment in Sabantuy includes climbing up a vertical pole. The participants who reach the top of the pole are those with some experience because they have been doing it for a long time. Each participant has their own techniques; some climb up without clothes, some pour water on themselves. All in all, each of them has a different approach.

The main entertainment of Sabantuy is when a coin is dropped in a big bowl full of qatiq which is traditional Tartar and Bashkir beverage made from sour milk and the participants have to find it with their mouth.


There are all sorts of other sports in Sabantuy such as and a form of wrestling called Koresh, horse riding, climbing, and lifting weights. The festival also features performances of cultural dances, musical groups, and demonstrations of handicrafts and arts. Not only those, the participants or guests are welcome to sing songs, cook delicious foods, and sport events for a good harvest.

Although it was initially meant for the Tartars and Tatarstan, Sabantuy is now growing in popularity and being celebrated by other Russian communities every year. The festival has been going for a quite long time and is now happening in all areas of Russia.

Foods in Sabantuy

The day before Sabantuy, children in Russia will be sent from house to house to collect milk, grains, butter, and eggs. Their mothers will then use these ingredients to make them porridge as a payment for their efforts. The next day, during Sabantuy, the children wear their best clothes and go from house to house to collect painted eggs while carrying a bag made from towels.

On that day, all the women will bake rolls of bread, and in some villages in Russia, it is custom for the first boy to enter a house to sit on a cushion and be told: “He who is fleet of foot is he who has many chickens and chicks…” He would then be gifted some eggs, more in number than those who come after him.


Other foods served during the festival include shashlyk kebabs, home-cooked noodles, rice plov dishes, and an assortment of other Tatar treats such as sweet fried dough known as chak-chak and pies like balish, echpochmak, and peremyach.

Colorful Festival

You can find a riot of color in harmony with Tatar’s traditional clothes and ornaments of beautiful yurts, the traditional temporary house constructed on the prairie as Bashkir has moved with herds of sheep and horse.

Horses of all colors gallop as fast as possible to win the races held on Sabantuy. After the races end, the winners will bring their racers to the center of the arena. They will be peppered with congratulatory messages and gifts from all sides. Sometimes, the proud winners ride some circles around the arena and then beckon their horses to the meadow so that the horses can rest.

So, that is a summary of Sabantuy: colors, dances, foods in Tatar Summer Festival. The festival is overflowing with events and activities that will satiate your culture vulture. If you are in the area, make sure to take a break and soak up some of the best Tatar festivities on during your trip.

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