There were many festivals in the Yup’ik culture but few of them we know today.
There was a feast that was called Bladder festival and it was mainly to honor the soul of the seals. The Messenger festival, there was a festival for it because everything was so scarce a long time ago. There was also a feast called Feast of the dead but it rarely occurred, and it was a feast for the reborn.
Bladder festival was one of the special events for nukalpiaqs, meaning the great yupik hunters even for the Yup’ik community. nakaciuryaraq is what they use to call in yupik long time ago like around in 1940’s. (Journeying to the Goddess) The season was winter when the time the feast use to happen. In the winter the Yup’iks use to travel with their dog sled team to other villages to attend their Bladder Festival. The reason why our culture use to have a bladder festival is because they use to celebrate the soul of the seals that were in the bladder, also for giving thanks and honoring the seals.The bladder festival was to honor the seals that were taken during the season for seal hunting.(facts on file) A book says the bladder festival was like an opening to do things or just to tell the Yup’iks that it’s winter. While the hunter kills the body of the seal, the hunter does not kill the spirit, the spirit is to reincarnate to another seal. The true meaning of why the bladder festivals became is because the Yua the spirit that was in the seals, one of the reasons why the yupiks blew bladders like a balloon. A long long time ago when they use to separate girls and boys in qasgiqs, the girls weren’t able to in a qasgiq to celebrate the bladder festival until they bleed. I do not know if boys were able to celebrate the fest...
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... of the general form and meaning of the annual and great feasts for the dead, there are not detailed.” said Brentina Chanar.
My thoughts about the festivals is that we should try bring them back to our ways today in our lifetime. It would bring a lot of people together and just have fun like they always use to in the old days. Bring the bladder, the feast of the dead, and messenger feast back because we don’t honor or give thanks to the animals like we use to but only our dance. The feasts being back to our days just for gathering of people would be so happy even for our elders. Festivals were special events in our ancestors lives and we don’t have them today that is why we should try and bring them to honor our ancestors. Every life has a yua that means every living thing has a soul and we don’t even honor them today. But everything is evolutionized.
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