Blue Lakes Region

Festival «The Tree of Life» Veps Veps Veps
  • Festival «The Tree of Life»
  • Veps
  • Veps
  • Veps

Shimozero, Pyazhozero, Kuya, Voilakhta is the region of virgin woods and blue lakes – the Veps territory. The world of legends, the world behind the looking-glass. To feel the original spirit of these places and to get acquainted to the Vepsian culture one should go to the north of the Babaevsky District in the Vologda Oblast.

The Veps are wonderful people. They were mentioned in the chronicles for the first time in VI century. Their basic occupations were agriculture, cattle breeding, fishing and hunting. The Veps were known also as skilful handicraftsmen: they practised domestic weaving and sewing, manufacturing of tools, objects of everyday life, ceramics. The Vepsian language was formed for centuries. It's the most ancient of the Baltic-Finnic languages. Thus the rare epic and musical folklore, the richest original culture which is handed over from father to son were created.

The first Veps folklore festival took place in June, 1988 in the village of Pondala of the Babaevsky District. In due course it got the status of the Inter-regional Festival of Veps Culture «The Tree of Life».

In 2009 the festival was held on the banks of the picturesque Kodozero – that is the lake located near the village Grigoryevskaya (Pyazhozero). Hewn log houses with the veps typical small windows, located high above the ground, the unique wooden church remarkable for its architecture. All old houses have platbands painted blue ( the color of water) or green (the color of plants), and the frontal board of platbands is decorated with the laid-on decor consisting of two rhombuses, compositions from rings and two elongated semi-rhombuses, there's also an «ear-ring» on each side of the board. In olden time the majority of houses were decorated with identical ornament on the platband frontal board to protect the house from the evil.

Nobody is afraid of long distances nowadays. Annually visitors come here to get acquainted to the once forbidden culture and its traditions. There are many legends about the rich Vepsian fish-soup which is made in the hugest boiler, and its secret is known only to the natives as well as a secret of preparation of Vepsian fish pies «korost» – traditional Vepsian dishes and other culinary exquisites of this small ethnic group. And this variety of fish dishes among the Veps isn't surprising: this land of blue lakes is rich in fish. Those who love fishing, having visited these places, won't regret that they have made such a long way! It's really a pleasure to simply go by boat on a beautiful smooth surface of the lake.

Those who have visited the Babaevsky District festival «The Tree of Life» come back again to enjoy the unique atmosphere created by traditional vepsian clothes, songs, their sonorous melodious language.

There are a lot of talented people on our Pyazhozero land. One of them is Svetlana Loginova, director of the Pyazhozero library – club who wrote «Hymn to Pyazhozero». The words are simple, but pleasing. The music of the song was willingly composed by the teacher of the Babaevsky Children's School S. V. Vasilyev. The melody is easily tuned, it's full of soul, pleasure and love to the native land, blossoming fields, Vepsian traditions, says the head of the branch of the Veps Culture Museum «Vepsian gornitsa», a Veps by origin Vladimir Trishkin. The branch was established in 2007 in the village Grigoryevskaya near the rural settlement Vepsskoe Natsionalnoe.

Earlier – in 2004 – in the village Kiyno there was opened the Veps Culture Museum. The exposition is very diverse: an archeological collection, illustrating the Veps history from the most ancient times, a collection of items of fabric, wood, iron, ceramics, and also objects of everyday life, clothes, furniture, works of art and crafts, traditional Vepsian craft, books and photos. The museum provides excursions both overviewing and thematic, for example, «Vepsian crafts», «Traditional Vepsian clothes», and also open lessons in history and study of local lore are constantly carried out.

The creation of the typological Vepsian country manor according to the traditional Veps set of constructions and their arrangement.

Visit this hospitable Vepsian Land – the Vepsian national settlement with its center in the village Timoshino. There are few native inhabitants left here, but they try to observe the traditions, culture and customs. And the name of the festival «The Tree of Life» has deep, sacral and sacred meaning; it incorporates the symbol of this small people. The symbol of life.

Ekaterina Veresova

Inter-Regional Festival of the Veps Folk Culture «The Tree of Life»

The Veps, descendants of the legendary Ves is one of the small native ethnic groups of Russia. Their ethnic territory is located between the Ladoga, Onega and White lakes. In the Vologda Oblast the Veps live in the territory of Kiyno and Pyazhozero rural settlements of the Babaevsky District, Oshtino rural settlement of the Vytegorsky District.

The symbol of the festival is the Tree of Life – a cosmic world tree, which is in traditional perception connected with religious – mythological model of the world. In the context of the festival the Tree of Life is seen as a basis for the Veps culture, a way to hand over traditions from one generation to another. The festival objective is to promote Vepsian national traditions, to preserve the Veps language.

The program of the festival includes celebration of the oldest and young inhabitants who have made a significant contribution to the development of local social and economic sphere, performances by the Vepsian folklore groups of the Vologda Oblast and the city of Petrozavodsk, animation programs for children and adults on the basis of the Veps folk traditions, exhibitions of applied, decorative and folk arts, visiting of the museum «Vepsskaya Gornitsa», performances of the authors writing in the Veps language and other events. Another bright event of the festival is the bonfire, a round dance of the participants, hanging out of little bells, tying of stripes onto the tree – symbols of preservation of the Veps culture.

Olga Lebedeva

Phones (81743) 6-21-45, 6-21-98
Head of the Veps national settlement Larissa Ivanova