The Yordyn Games: Friendly competition for the strongest people

The Yordyn Games: Friendly competition for the strongest people

13-15 June 2019, The village of Yelantsy, the Irkutsk Region.

The Yordyn Games, an ethnocultural festival of the peoples of Eurasia, brings together men, who compete in strength and agility, and women, who take part in a beauty pageant.

Under the blazing-white summer sky, wrestlers get fired up to try their strength against one another, and horsemen participate in races. Archers shoot at targets with traditional bows.

Weight lifters have to undergo a serious ordeal: Their task is to lift and move a stone which weighs from 110 to 125 kilograms.

It is held every other year. The festival location was chosen a very long time ago – the sacred mountains Yokhe Yord and Baga Yord, eight kilometers away from the settlement of Yelantsy in Irkutsk Region.

Apart from competitions, the central event of the festival is Yokhor, a ritual ring dance of buryat peoples around the sacred mountain. It takes 700 people to form the circle. There are always enough volunteers to dance all night long, holding hands with a crowd of strangers: The 2015 festival gathered 5000 guests who made three giant rings to encircle the mountains.