17th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Travel
The Last Pagans of Europe

Yuletide in the village of Unche of the Republic of Mari El remained as in the old days-in almost unchanged form. The Mari belong to the Volga branch of the Finno-Ugric peoples, making them distant relatives of the Finns, Estonians and Hungarians.Traditionally, in the days of Shoryk Yol, rites were held, to which people gave a mystical meaning. For example, walking masked mummers hint at overcoming death and rebirth of life-the future transition from winter to spring. Mummers go from house to house, and the owners treat them as best as possible to attract more vital and fertile forces.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 01.2019
Date Uploaded: 11.2019
Photo Location: The village of Uncho, Russia
Camera: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV
Copyright: © Alexey Nasyrov