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00:39 | Sep 06 | 2012

Yakuts Break Records

Sakha residents danced the largest and the most long-lasting round dance in the world.

On June 23, 2012 a Guinness World Record for the largest osuokhay in the world was set in a suburb of Yakutsk. 15 293 people danced the largest round dance during the national holiday Ysyakh in the Tuymaady Valley, where the world’s largest city in the permafrost is situated.
The record was decided to be set in open air – at a place called Us Khatyn (Three Birches), where every June the Yakuts traditionally celebrate the national holiday of the beginning of a year according to the ancient Yakut calendar. Participants of the round dance, holding hands, were dancing clockwise to the sounds of the national melodies and solos around a sacred copper tethering-post – Altai serge – a cult column, which was used by the ancestors of the Sakha people in their beliefs.
The duration of the dance was 20 minutes, the dancers formed 36 concentric circles, and the length of the largest was 500 m. The record was organized by media group “Sitim” and the administration of the city of Yakutsk. The record was put on paper by Jack Brockbank, an official representative of Guinness World Records.
A similar record was set in Dehong, China, where at the same time 10,000 people “snake” danced at one place, depicting an enormous dragon by their dance. And in 2007 the record for the largest round dance in the world was formalized in Volgograd, where 5,300 people were dancing.
Meanwhile, in Nyurba, Sakha Republic (Yakutia), another record was set – for the longest osuokhay, which was included into the Russian Book of Records. 1267 people, holding hands, were dancing to the lead solos moving clockwise for 1 hour and 59 seconds without interruption.
The round dance was performed outdoors in a suburb of Nyurba at a place called Kytalyktaah (home to Siberian Cranes) during the national holiday “Ysyakh Olonkho”. The record was put on paper by Alexei Svistunov, the editor in chief of the Record Book of Russia. Osuokhay was led by a famous osuokhay specialist – leading singer Procopiy Stepanov.

Osuokhay is a mass ritual dance, during which national songs are sung. It is believed that participation in osuokhay purifies the soul.
National New Year (Ysyakh) is a traditional summer holiday, during which the Yakuts celebrate the rebirth of nature. It is accompanied by a blessing (algys), abundant refreshments, a round dance, sports games and horse races. At the dawn of the next day the Yakuts hold a sacred rite of the meeting of the Sun during which they are charging energy for the whole year. Ysyakh 2012 was devoted to the 380th anniversary of the entry of the Republic integration into Russia and the foundation of Yakutsk.