Deer Day is the professional holiday of reindeer herdsmen, which was first celebrated in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug in 1932.
Since 1985 this holiday was called the Day of Reindeer Herdsman and was celebrated on August 2 (St.Elijah’s Day). In 2002, the first convention of the Nenets Okrug’s reindeer herdsmen decided to change the name of the traditional holiday to the Reindeer Day. The holiday was officially confirmed on December 14, 2007.
The celebration of the Reindeer Day marks the end of summer pasture of reindeer and the start of the herd migrating to winter pastures. The use of the word “reindeer” in the name of the holiday is purposeful. The reindeer, which is the sacred animal for all native people of tundra, still means life to the nenets. It is their food, transport and a material for clothes and home.
For the 80 years of history of the celebration, some feasting traditions have been established. The essential part of the Reindeer Day is a solemn gathering with the summary of the results of the year. After that, the camps of nomads hold competitions of their national sports – jumping over the sledge, roping a lasso (tynzey) to a pole (khorey), reindeer sledge races and public feasting.