Investment Portal of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation

'The embodiment of all that is best in the Taimyr'

The Grand Argish Festival, the peninsula's main ethnic festival, took place in Taimyr.

10 november 2022

The main objective of the festival, which has been held since 2010 and has already become traditional, is to introduce the culture and everyday life of the indigenous peoples of Taimyr. This year, the Grand Argish Festival was held at 11 venues in two polar towns—Dudinka and Norilsk.

Grand Argish Festival 2022 was dedicated to the settlements where the indigenous peoples of the Taimyr live.

This year, several research expeditions have visited remote settlements in the Taimyr tundra, which are most often accessible only by helicopter. The participants decided to share their impressions of Nganasans, Evenki, Dolgan, Enets and Nenets life. Therefore, the main theme of the festival was 'In the footsteps of great expeditions.'

The festival started on 4 November in Dudinka, where the Grand Argish Festival's fire was lit, a symbol of friendship and unity of the indigenous peoples of the North. On 5 November, the celebration continued in Norilsk.

'It is very symbolic that the Grand Argish Festival coincided with the all-Russian holiday of National Unity Day. We have, indeed, united all the ethnic groups living in Taimyr in our city. I believe that the Grand Argish Festival is the embodiment of the best we have in the territory,' said Dmitry Karasev, head of Norilsk.


On the squares of Dudinka and Norilsk, a large ethnic nomad camp was set up: 10 chums were set up there so that all the festival guests had time to visit them. The hospitable hostesses treated guests to fragrant tundra tea, showed them their outfits and explained how a chum is put up. The assembly of a traditional Enets chum is always supervised by the hostess of the home, and only she knows the order in which the seven illuminated poles are placed.

In the 21st century, however, the chums in the tundra are increasingly beginning to replace the baloks with which the Dolgan hunters used to go fishing. They do not have to be dismantled and reassembled every time they are moved and are easier to handle, especially in winter.

For the first time, the Grand Argish Festival saw two sledge trains with baloks. The indigenous peoples of the Taimyr call this string of mobile homes the argish.

'The word "argish" itself carries many more meanings than "reindeer wagon." It is not only a journey of sometimes a thousand kilometres that a man and his four-legged friend, the reindeer, travel together in search of a new camp site but also a journey in a philosophical sense,' said Alexander Ishko from Norilsk.

Artists who flew to Norilsk from faraway settlements especially to take part in the festival performed on stage for the Grand Argish Festival's guests. 

The young guests of the festival enjoyed playing the traditional games of the Taimyr peoples and learning to make souvenir chums and narts at master classes. The adults were especially interested in the photos of the participants of expeditions to the Taimyr settlements and the exhibition project 'Faces of Taimyr' by the young Moscow artist Daria Zavorina. And of course, everyone, from young to old, loved the reindeer and dog sledge rides through the city streets.

There was a gastrosettlement on Komsomolskaya Square in Norilsk, where they served traditional northern delicacies such as reindeer ice cream and cloudberry cakes. And the city's cafés and restaurants offered a modern twist on classic dishes. 

Photo: Main photo: Read more "Ethno-saving activities" Arctic indigenous peoples' representatives discuss issues that will shape their future


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