Russia’s Nenets Celebrate Reindeer Herders’ Day

Photos by Dmitry Lovetsky

It’s a holiday celebrated annually in Russia’s Yamal-Nenets region in the Arctic.

For the indigenous nomadic Nenets people, Reindeer Herders’ Day offers a chance to show their prowess in wrestling, high jumps and other traditional local sports, but, above all, in reindeer races. Some participants traveled hundreds of kilometers (miles) across the frozen tundra to attend the competition in the northern Siberian region, which has more than half of its territory above the Arctic Circle.

Nadym, where the races were held, is a city 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) northeast of Moscow.

This year, when the holiday was celebrated for the 20th time, dozens of reindeer-driven sleds took part in the race. The most coveted prize is a snowmobile — the best means of transportation in the frigid region.

There are about 40,000 Nenets living in the Arctic region and many work in traditional reindeer herding.

Click on any image to launch the Reindeer Herders’ Day gallery.


See more photos of Reindeer Herders’ Day


Text from the AP news story, AP PHOTOS: Russia’s Nenets celebrate Reindeer Herders’ Day, by Dmitry Lovetsky.


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