Nganasans’ trees blackening month starts

Nganasans’ trees blackening month starts

March 16, 2021

The Nganasans is the ethnic group which lives only on the territory of Taimyr: in Dudinka, the villages of Volochanka, Ust-Avam and Novaya.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. According to the lunar calendar the month of trees blackening, when the branches are freed from snow, has started. This is the period from the second half of March to mid-April. The lunar calendar of the most ancient northern people of Eurasia was presented in the Taimyr Museum of Local Lore.

The Nganasans are descendants of the Neolithic wild reindeer hunters who lived in Taimyr in the 15th century BC. According to the 2010 census, only 747 Nganasans are left in the world.

The name Nganasans in translation means man, human. The Nganasans call themselves the Nya people.

The Nganasans lingered in the Stone Age until the 19th century: they lived by hunting deer and fishing, worshiping pagan gods.

The names of the months among the Nganasans reflect the state of nature, the main economic activities of people, ritual actions and mythological representations. The Nganasans call their clothes the costume of the sacred loon, since, according to mythology, they descend from this bird.

“In early March, in the west of Taimyr, wild deer begin to emerge from the Putorana mountains. During this period, wild deer were hunted with a gun, nets and under the cover of a special shield on runners. Hunting with nets was carried out on clear days and only in winter; on foggy cloudy days, it was impossible. Among the Nganasans, each net for catching wild deer was the collective property of a group of siblings. But since the Nganasan’s property was always inherited by the youngest son, who lived with his father until his death, so the net remained with him, although he had no right to use it without the brothers’ consent”, the museum specialists said.

Among the Nganasans, hunters disposed of their prey at their own discretion. So, a son had the right to give the deer he killed to anyone, without asking the consent of his parents, while in other respects he was completely dependent on them. If two hunters shot at the deer at the same time, one of them yielded the prey by agreement.

Wild reindeer meat in various forms is the main dish of the northern menu. Turubyo – dried meat was considered a product of long-term storage. It was hung out in the sun for three days, and then hung in a tent over a fire for one day. Dried reindeer meat was cut into cubes called neleme, they were taken with the nomads on a long journey.

The arrival of civilization in Taimyr became the reason for the psychological breakdown of the ethnos. Now in the Taimyr Dolgano-Nenets district they are trying to preserve the culture of the Nganasans. In particular, employees of the Taimyr House of Folk Art are engaged in this. The Nganasans themselves work in the center. Read about what is known about the religion and language of the Nganasan by the active link.

Now in the Museum of Norilsk there is a White Raven and Dark Raven photo project. Independent journalist Vladimir Servinovsky went on an expedition to Volochanka following the last nomadic hunter-reindeer herders.

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Text: Angelica Stepanova, Photo: Nikolay Shchipko and open sources

March 16, 2021

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