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International Pelmeni Day celebrated in Udmurtia

The Udmurt Republic has been celebrating World Pelmeni Day for the past ten years, as according to some, Udmurtia is the homeland of the pelmeni dumplings. This year’s festival took place again from 5-10 February. In Udmurt, ‘pelnyany’ means ‘ear bread’, and in the city of Izhevsk, a monument of several metres in height has been erected to the dumplings.

Nowadays, Pelmeni Day has become a festival with dumpling-themed menus appearing in the capital’s restaurants. The events culminated on Saturday 10 February, when various events dedicated to pelmeni took place in the capital’s main squares.

Of course, the main focus of the events is on making and eating a wide variety of dumplings – in 2023, for example, as many as 11 tonnes of dumplings were eaten and 40,000 people took part in the events.

So what was done this year? A photo competition ‘My family is my wealth’ was opened, presenting photos of family traditions of preparing Udmurt national dishes. Master classes were held, teaching how to make the most varied dumplings. Competitions were held, for example teams played ice-ball with brooms instead of hockey sticks. There were relay races, where the baton was replaced by a spoon filled with dumplings, and quizzes on Udmurt national dishes. A fairy-tale competition was also popular, where not only the storytelling skills were judged, but the stories had to be illustrated.

In addition, there were folk sports, the opportunity to run a half-marathon or compete in fishing, for example, and the prizes were trays of dumplings, with the grand prize being a year’s supply of dumplings. Folk music concerts were held in the town squares.

As a sign of the times, the festival included the chance to dismantle a Kalashnikov automatic (the infamous weapons designer Mikhail Kalashnikov lived and worked in Izhevsk) and write letters to soldiers fighting in Ukraine.