Keretkun Festival

Keretkun Festival

Late autumn
The Chukchi people of northeastern Siberia hold a two- or three-day celebration in late autumn known as the Keretkun Festival, in honor of the "owner" of all the sea animals on which they depend for their livelihood. The purpose of the festival is to symbolically return all the animals that had been killed during the hunting season to the sea, thus replenishing the resource that had been plundered. Objects used in the celebration include a special net made out of reindeer tendons, painted oars, statues of birds, and a small wooden image of Keretkun, which is burned at the end of the festival.
A similar festival is held by the Koryak people, another group that depends upon sea animals for survival. The Seal Festival is held at the end of the hunting season in November, and the participants plead with the animals they've killed to return to the sea and let themselves be caught again next year. The dead animals are represented by stylized likenesses made out of seaweed.
CONTACTS:
Russian Travel Information Office
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SOURCES:
FolkWrldHol-1999, pp. 631, 626
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