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News

Holiday! Horserace! Who’s the Favourite Today?

10.05.2017

On May 7, the National M.A.Sholokhov Museum-Reserve held its annual literary ethnographic holiday “Steed is the Dearest for Cossack” (Cossack battle arts of Vyoshenskaya) which was dedicated to the glorious Victory Day and the forthcoming 112th anniversary of the great writer.

The central spectacle of the holiday was an artistic ethnographic composition “Horserace by the Tsaryov Pond”. It was based on the episode from the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don” by M.A.Sholokhov, where Mitka Korshunov and Yevgeny Listnitsky competed in racing. It was an exciting spectacle for the viewers’ delight.

From the morning the holiday guests had a tour about the Museum Stables and learned about the rich ethnographic traditions of the Don Cossacks. The visitors were shown the conditions of keeping horses (the stalls, paddock, saddlery, coach-room, hayloft, and others); they were told about the features of each of the horse breeds in the Stables and about the order of the Cossack irregular cavalry service.

Meanwhile, the visitors wishing to show their skills queued up to compete in javelin-throwing, knife-throwing, bullet shooting, cutting rods, cutting the moving target and Cossack whip accuracy.

The children joined master-classes on making handicraft articles and everyone was a success. The young visitors competed in archery and tried to lasso “a horse”. The children were also attracted by the informative adventure game “Travelling by Landmarks (veshki) to Vyoshki”.

It was very interesting to visit a field forge and try to do some forgery works.

As well, there was a camp kitchen. The open air smoke-flavoured porridge was very tasty. And stewed fruit to follow was great!

The connoisseurs of the Cossack military service could appreciate a Cossack field camp with typical huts and tents. You could feel yourself one of the personages of the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don” coming to Setraki May camp.

At 11 o’clock the festival opening ceremony took place. The holiday public was greeted by A.M.Sholokhov, Deputy of the State Duma, M.V.Korneyeva, Deputy Head of the Rostov Region Administration, O.A.Anistratenko, Director of

the Museum-Reserve of M.A.Sholokhov, and the fourth holiday “Steed is the Dearest for Cossack” was welcomed.

Then the public was greeted by Siberian guests, Cossacks from distant Yamal. They came to the Don country in the year of the 435th anniversary of the Siberian Cossack Army to enter into cooperation agreement with the Museum-Reserve of M.A.Sholokhov. The Siberian atamans – N.K.Ryzhov and V.I.Stepanchenko, and L.L.Yevdokimova, Director of the Centre for External Relations Development, made good wishes for the holiday of the Cossack battle arts of Vyoshenskaya.

The performance “Horserace by the Tsaryov Pond” began with a theatrical horserace competition accompanied by a good Cossack song. It was performed by a group “Pravoslavny Don” directed by G.Vechorkin. The song flew over the festival, high into the sky. The song is an integral part of the Cossack life.

There, at the festival, a seeing off ceremony was held for the conscripts of Vyoshenskaya joining the Army service. They were sincerely addressed by A.M.Sholokhov.

Besides the Cossacks and atamans of the Siberian Cossack Army (Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Territory), the holiday was visited by cadets from different Russian cadet technical schools and Cossack corps, who competed in Cossack pentathlon. The victory was gained by the Orlov Cossack Cadet Corps.

The cadets could also take part in the performances, contests and competitions, have a ride on horseback and in coaches, or have a photo taken sitting on horseback, or in a Cossack outfit standing near an old well, or have a ride on a nest-swing, or take a pleasure boating on the Tsaryov Pond and, of course, could buy souvenirs.

The horsemen were stormily applauded by the spectators for showing their mastery in brave Cossack fancy riding: Cossack mass attack, cutting at full gallop, reforming the horsemen holding flags, picking up an object from the ground, jumping down and jumping onto the saddle at full gallop, and other styles. But a special rejoicing was caused by forming a pyramid at the gallop: two riders passed by the spectators’ seats with the third man standing on their shoulders, then a three-tiered pyramid rushed by (three riders carried two men standing on their shoulders, and on them there was another rider standing). Moreover, the rider at the top was a brave girl from Stanitsa Bazkovskaya.

Finally, according to the tradition, the riders at a full gallop were throwing bunches of “Sholokhov” lilacs to the spectators who applauded and cried “Lyubo!” to them.

Alexey Kochetov