14 July 2010, 15:18

Izhevsk to host Redheads' Festival

Izhevsk to host Redheads' Festival
Download audio file

Preparations continue in Izhevsk, the capital of the Russian republic of Udmurtia in the Urals, for the September Redheads’ Festival, already the seventh of its kind. The venue is by no means a random choice. Ethnographic studies confirm that Udmurtia has a surprisingly high percentage of red-haired people.

Preparations continue in Izhevsk, the capital of the Russian republic of Udmurtia in the Urals, for the September Redheads’ Festival, already the seventh of its kind. The venue is by no means a random choice.

Ethnographic studies confirm that Udmurtia has a surprisingly high percentage of red-haired people. But perhaps even more surprising is the fact that the ancient Udmurts knew their homeland was the most red-haired spot on Earth, which is reflected in their epos and jokes.

Marina Rupasova is deputy head of the Udmurt National Museum and this is what she told: "The credibility of this scientific conclusion is indisputable. Ethnographers have a so-called ginger index calculated on the basis of special studies of various ethnic groups and nations. Often, it also shows how old a tribe or nation is. The Udmurts have the highest ginger indicator in Russia, 70%, and the second highest in the world after the Irish people."

It doesn’t mean, however, that 70% of all Udmurts are red-haired. Having analyzed thousands of questionnaires filled out by local residents, scientists saw that 70% of the respondents described their ancestors as “red haired”. There is a popular theory that ginger people are direct descendants of Neanderthals.

Passed from father to son, the ginger gene appears to be one of the oldest and most durable genes in the human DNA. Professor Yury Perevoshchikov holds that Udmurts trace their origin from the Budins, a semi-mythical tribe of blue-eyed and red-haired people mentioned by Herodotus.

The professor argues that the majority of all red-haired people, including Celts who inhabited Ireland and other parts of Europe, came from what is now modern-day Udmurtia.  

The Redheads' Festival will help dilute the perception of Udmurdia as a predominantly industrial region with the famous Kalashnikov assault rifle as its only brand.

Maria Rupasova said: "It’s a pity that a rich layer of the Udmurt ethnic culture gets so little attention and is known exclusively in the Finno-Ugric world".

Scheduled for September, a time when nature acquires orange hues, the Redheads' Festival will boast a “read-haired” cuisine, a “red-haired” arts and crafts fair, a “red-haired” dance competition, a fire show and a red horse race.    

The organizers hope the festival will become an international event for all red-haired nations, which account for 2% of the global population.

  •  
    and share via