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23 Jun, 2007 18:52

Tatars let loose for Sabantui festival

Every year the traditional Tatar festival, Sabantui, attracts crowds of people wishing to witness with their own eyes and take part in the festivities. The feast of entertainment and Tartar crafts is now enjoyed by all Russians, not just those in Kazan an

Sabantui has evolved over the centuries but still remains tied to key traditions – celebrating the end of ploughing in the fields, waiting for crops to grow.

Tradition features heavily in the dancing and games. Thousands have flocked to this year's event to take in the spectacle. The format centres around two main themes – culture and sport. For women it's about dancing and costume wearing, women traditionally dressed to look their finest to catch the eye of potential suitors. The masculine side is all about showing how strong you are and the kuryash, the traditional Tartar wrestling bout, sums it up perfectly.

The spirit of the event – the fact that it remains so unchanged from its original format centuries ago – can't be underestimated and those who organise it are looking to protect its identity by getting it officially listed as a UNESCO world heritage event.