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Aksha Kelu National Folklore Festival, Saransk

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As a send-off to spring and a celebartion of nature, Aksha Kelu (meaning “white birch”), is an annual holiday at the start of June, held in the Republic of Mordovia. People decorate their houses with birch branches and dress up in national costumes as they sing songs about nature. A highlight of the festivities is the belt wrestling, in which both boys and girls compete. A Tatar tradition and one of the oldest sports around, components must knock the other over by way of a belt looped across the back of the body.

Saransk, Mordovia, Russia

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