From September 19 to 21 in Kingisepp area of Leningrad region there passed the Noizhema Kaigija Shuvvama (We Will Love Everybody) Second youth festival of Finno-Ugric culture of the Northwest region. The festival gathered 8 ensembles from Kingisepp area, St.-Petersburg, Karelia, Udmurtiya and Estonia.
The holiday has started in the Rosson camp where the ensembles welcomed the visitors with songs and dances. The festival continued in performances of participants in Kingisepp and St.-Petersburg. Organizers have chosen unusual, although very successful on the plan form of performance. On the open areas of excursion boats floating down the rivers and channels of St.-Petersburg, the ensembles performed their singing and dancing repertoir.
Within the scope of the festival there passed the round table discussion devoted to status of small indigenous people of Leningrad region. We shall remind, that according to the population census in Kingisepp area (Leningrad region) ther live 173 representatives of Vod and 327 of Izhora.
Today traditional culture of these small Finno-Ugric peoples is preserved thanks to enthusiasm of local residents, participants of folklore collectives. There are a lot of problems of preservation of Izhora and Vod cultures and languages. The smallest Finno-Ugric people of Vod has no museum now.
The round table discussin has allowed to look at the status of these peoples with more optimism. Deputy Head of Kingisepp area administration Svetlana Ponomaryova has assured that in the immediate prospects there is construction of centers on preservation of cultures of Izhora and Vod. This issue is being negotiated with investors – builders of Ust-Luga port.
Representatives of the Finno-Ugric cultural center of the Russian Federation have taken part in work of festival: director Svetlana Belorusova and head of the department of national arts and crafts Oleg Mityushyov.
They communicated with representatives of small peoples to find out what the Center can do to help enthusiasts who wish to revive and preserve languages and cultures. As the head of the curriculum department of Karakol school, director Linnut of children’s ensemble Marina Petrova has told, children sing in Vod language with pleasure and are ready to study it, however, absence of abc-books, textbooks and the language teachers become a barrier to introduction of subjects teaching national language and culture at school.
The created long time ago Vod alphabet is not published till now. In the area there are no experts able to teach national language: the Vod grandmothers and grandfathers can not be teachers, as they do know teaching methods, Marina Petrova has noted. Nevertheless, she trusts in the opportunity of revival of the Vod language and considers that real assistance should be rendered for this purpose both by the public, and by the authorities.
In turn, the Finno-Ugric cultural center of Russia has included in the plan for next year rendering methodical assistance to small Finno-Ugric peoples of Leningrad region, in particular, publishing Vod alphabet.
The festival of Finno-Ugric culture gains in strength. Right now, on the ways of becoming, the forum requires support of enforcement authorities. The action should have its continuation: it allows participants – Finno-Ugric youth collectives – to communicate around the festival fire, sing national songs, and meet and make friends with adherents not indifferent to destiny of their peoples.