The Nation Trying to Survive

The Nation Trying to Survive

According to the data of 2010 only 550 thousand Mari remained in the world. They are simple and humble people, they do what the authorities want them to do.

They have their own republic – Mari El. However a big Mari group (about twenty four thousand people) lives far from their capital Yoshkar-Ola, they live in the south of the Sverdlovsk region and are called “Ural Mari”. Their ancestors migrated to the Urals back in the XVI century trying to avoid forced Christianization.

The Nation Trying to Survive

Few peoples of the world managed to preserve their unique culture and religion. Despite the persecution of the tsar and Soviet governments, enormous power of orthodoxy, Islam, atheism, the Mari kept praying in their sacred groves.

The Nation Trying to Survive

The Nation Trying to Survive

A sheep is a sacrafice during praying. It should be healthy and have no defects. They separate the main organs of the animal and string them on a rope to be cooked with other food. This ritual is a prayer for health for people.

The Nation Trying to Survive

The sacrafiers are asking Gods for happy life, health, welfare of the Mari people, rich harvest, to protect people from drugs and alcohol, to make the authorities take right decisions.

The Nation Trying to Survive

The Mari religon is based on the power of the nature.

The Nation Trying to Survive

Costumes are a pride of Mari women. They are manually made and worn on holidays. The breast part is considered to be the most chic, it is decorated with pre-revolutionary coins. Some dresses are more than 100 years, they are passed on from generation to generation.

The Nation Trying to Survive

In fact only very old grannies can properly make traditional Mari costumes today. Intricate embroidery, homespun cloths, silver coins are replaced today with beads, rhinestones, fabric with finished patterns and aluminium circles.

The Nation Trying to Survive

The women are having a holiday after the performance of the local band. On the table are home brew, tea and pastry. They talk and sing songs.

The Nation Trying to Survive

Back in the times of Rus Mari witches were considered to be the most powerful. Today they still widely practice witchcraft. Sometimes they even apply it to settle quarrels between neighbours.

The Nation Trying to Survive

The holiday is held after planting works.

The Nation Trying to Survive

Mari families are big. Sometimes they are as big as 200 people. Family connections are strong.

The Nation Trying to Survive

The Mari ensemble is getting ready for the performance.

The Nation Trying to Survive

When children graduate from school they seldom come back to their native land. This process is the biggest threat for such cultures – city life is based on absolutely different values.

The Nation Trying to Survive

It’s the school in Verkhny Potam village. This boy was the last first grader, the school was about to close (the photo was taken in 2010).

The Nation Trying to Survive

Mari hunters have rest.

The Nation Trying to Survive

Each spring they start fighting for a good harvest, because ground is the main source of life for the Mari.

The Nation Trying to Survive

In the period of planting mechanics have a lot of work to do in garages. Many machines need to be repaired.

The Nation Trying to Survive

It’s the office of the director of the local farm “Success”. He’s probably the only wealthy Mari person in the region.

The Nation Trying to Survive

Citizens of Sarsy village are cleaning the potatoes which remained after the planting.

The Nation Trying to Survive

One of the main incentives for farm workers is the fall distribution of potatoes and grains. Their amount depends on how well a person worked during the season.

The Nation Trying to Survive

Artimeikovo village has 52 houses. It used to be rich: there were a farm, a school, a lot of agricultural equipment there but today it is slowly dying. The average age of the villagers is 60 years old. Men try to turn a penny in neighbouring bigger villages or cities, women keep houses and do needlework (some of them make and sell national costumes), children go to school two kilometres away to the neighbouring village.

The Nation Trying to Survive

The Nation Trying to Survive

Their hope is local farmers who are trying to improve the agriculture abandoned after the perestroika. If they succeed they will have jobs, people will cultivate the land, the culture and traditions will get a chance to survive.

The Nation Trying to Survive

The vllagers say that after the perestroika their village almost died, people got angry and didn’t meet even to celebrate New Year. Twenty years later something starts to be reviving.

The Nation Trying to Survive

The Nation Trying to Survive

Today the situation in the village is rather difficult, they lack jobs and the school is about to close because it has no enough pupils.

The Nation Trying to Survive

The Nation Trying to Survive

People are celebrating Christmas carol.

The Nation Trying to Survive

It’s the time for divination.

The Nation Trying to Survive

It’s the village Mari Karshi.

The Nation Trying to Survive

The Nation Trying to Survive

The women are going to rehearse their dancing perfomance to the only place in Yekaterinburg where the Mari can meet and communicate.

The Nation Trying to Survive

The Ural Mari are trying to open a new page in their history, to go back to basics while young people keep moving to big cities. It’s hard to predict what these processes will lead to.

via rodinki.newsib.ru

17 thoughts on “The Nation Trying to Survive”

  1. Well, 550 000 is a lot of Mari. I bet, that’s more than 500 years ago. Compare that to Indians, there were millions of them in those times but only a few survived.

    • You mean, the American whites did a more thourough elimination job on the Indians, so that they have never recovered. Genocide is the modern American national sport.

      • Actually there are more people alive today that proclaim to be American Indians than at any time in history. The fact is: American Indians were stone age cultures before the arrival of the whites. They had to live in small numbers because they did not have the technology to produce enough food to support large populations. They also lacked the knowlege of basic hygene that would have prevented out braeks of diseases. Your theory on genocide is myth. That is a fancy word for BS

  2. It happens to agricultural communities throughout the world. No one can compete with the giant, heavily subsidized agro corporations in the West, so farmers’ livelihoods fall into disrepair.

    • Well, actually in Russia the agricultural sector is doing quite well and is not subsidized by the government. Of course if they live on bad soil or do not have the capital for investments, that is another story.

  3. Actually Mexico’s population is 100 million and 70% would be considered racially American Indians. The same for the rest of central and South America, except Uruguay and Argentina. So whites did not exterminate the Indians. Only in the USA did they exterminate them. So overall American Indians have thrived.

    • There was no mass extermination of American Indian. In fact American Indians killed each other in greater numbers than the whites ever did. Sorry but they were blood thirsty, constantly warring, slavery practicing, torturing, male dominated, stone age cultures. They just had the bad luck of running into Western Culture, 1000 years too late.

  4. I wonder if they are really still practicing pagans, or just keep pre christian traditions for cultral reasons. In either case, I think they are distantly related to Sa’amis.

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