World Cup Fans Enjoy Tatar Culture at Summer Festival

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An artist wearing Tatar national outfit looks on at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan
An artist wearing Tatar national outfit looks on at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan, Russia June 23, 2018. REUTERS/John Sibley
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KAZAN, Russia (Reuters)

Football fans from around the globe visiting Kazan for the World Cup got a taste of traditional Tatar culture at the Sabantuy Summer festival on Saturday

The holiday, which celebrates the planting of the crops, has origins going back more than a thousand years and the festival on the outskirts of Kazan attracts thousands of visitors every year.

 

An artist wearing Tatar national outfit looks on at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan
An man wearing Tatar national hat looks on at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan, Russia June 23, 2018. REUTERS/John Sibley

 

Traditional singing and dancing, bell ringing, pillow fighting and a game in which blindfolded children attempted to cut hanging fish off string were among the activities.

The showpiece event is a belt-wrestling tournament which once offered the main prize of a sheep but now promises the winner a brand new car.

 

Artists perform at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan
Artists perform at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan, Russia June 23, 2018. REUTERS/John Sibley

 

Among those attending this year were a good number of Colombians in the city to support their team in Sunday’s World Cup H fixture against Poland.

“It’s so different, our country so different, we are excited and happy to be here,” said one yellow-shirted South American visitor.

Kazan, with its sweeping river vistas and historic buildings, has been one of the great beneficiaries of the exposure that the hosting of the World Cup has brought to Russia.

 

 

The country’s sixth biggest city by population, Kazan is the capital of the Tatar Republic and its inhabitants are fiercely proud of its history and culture.

“I’m really glad because many people arrived from all over the world and our citizens and our guests are becoming friends and they are having fun together,” said one local.

 

(Reporting by Christophe Van Der Perre and Fedja Grulovic, writing by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Ian Chadband)

 

Girls take part in a pillow fight at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan
Girls take part in a pillow fight at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan, Russia June 23, 2018. REUTERS/John Sibley

 

A stuffed bear is displayed at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan
A stuffed bear is displayed at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan, Russia June 23, 2018. REUTERS/John Sibley

 

Artists perform at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan
Artists perform at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan, Russia June 23, 2018. REUTERS/John Sibley

 

An artist wearing a Tatar national outfit looks on at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan
An man wearing a Tatar national hat looks on at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan, Russia June 23, 2018. REUTERS/John Sibley

 

Men wrestle at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan
Men wrestle at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan, Russia June 23, 2018. REUTERS/John Sibley

 

Artists perform at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan
Artists perform at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan, Russia June 23, 2018. REUTERS/John Sibley

 

A man plays with a ball at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan
A man plays with a ball at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan, Russia June 23, 2018. REUTERS/John Sibley

 

An artist performs at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan
An artist performs at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan, Russia June 23, 2018. REUTERS/John Sibley

 

A blindfolded girls attempts to cut a string with a dried fish at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan
A blindfolded girls attempts to cut a string with a dried fish at the Sabantuy, a summer festival marking the end of spring crop planting, in Kazan, Russia June 23, 2018. REUTERS/John Sibley
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