Why beauty contests are so popular in Yakutsk

Beauty for the locals is very important, and inspires hope. For them, beauty contests in Yakutia are a search for something pure, ever-present, and as fragile as nature." - thinks Ayar Kuo.

Beauty for the locals is very important, and inspires hope. For them, beauty contests in Yakutia are a search for something pure, ever-present, and as fragile as nature." - thinks Ayar Kuo.

Ayar Kyo
Beauty contest winners in a photo series.
"Yakutia is a very distant region of Russia (4,375 km from Moscow) with long harsh winters. Arts and national crafts are so popular here because there is little else that people can do in a confined space indoors.
There is a person with a crown, sometimes with two, in each house. The ribbon and the crown are safely guarded.
Ayar Kuo, the author of photographs, thinks that the beauty contests in Yakutia are a real phenomen.
One of the most important parts of the competitions is the catwalk in national costumes. Sometimes, whole shows are based on Yakutian myths.
Beauty is an integral part of the image of the perfect Yakutian woman. Beauty contests are now held amoung police officers, medical workers, airline staff, teachers, secretaries, and students. Contests for children, men, and senior citizens have also appeared.
The origins of the competition lie in Olonkho, an ancient oral epic. This myth describes a young woman who possesses a beautiful face, kind nature, long braids, and a shy, vulnerable soul.
The Yakut Yhyakh ("Abundance") Festival harks back to ancient beliefs in sun and fertility deities and is said to be an echo of pagan cults. The main place for this holiday is Yakutsk, where more than 150,000 people come to celebrate. The Yakut Yhyakh Festival features a beauty contest in which national traditions are center stage: such as measuring the length of braids, talent contests (like throat-singing), cooking skills.
The first beauty contest in Yakutsk (the capital of Yakutia Region in Russia) was held in 1989 to great acclaim; lately it has spread around the whole republic.
The Mister Yakutia Contest is for young men to show off their strength, endurance, and dexterity. Participants impersonate heroes from local myths who fought and slayed demons.
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