An Example to the Cultural Activities in the Eastern Black Sea Coastal Mountains: Yayla (Mountain Pastures) Festivals
Mehmet Zaman (Atatürk University, Turkey) [BIO]
The Eastern Black Sea Part, the eastern part of Black Sea Region, locates between the River Melet, which enters the sea in the east of Ordu, and Georgia border. And the transhumance activities are common in the coastal mountains of this part.
Mountain pasture festivals are an important component in transhumance culture. Festivals that have interesting features, organized once in a year in definite mountain pastures by the people of the region, are traditional outdoor entertainments for delight and relaxing that include first of all horon, various folk dances, competitions and sport contests. These festivals are generally named as senlik, but they are called in some counties of Trabzon (Tonya, Vakfikebir, Şalpazari, Beşikdüzü, Akçaabat) and in some mountain pastures of Gümüşhane as Dernek, Çürük Ortası, Otçular and in pastures of Rize they are named as Vartivor (Vartavor) or Hodoç which is known as Yayla Ortasi and mean rose festival or herbage festival. And the participants of the festival are called Şenlikçi, Dernekçi, and Vartivorcu.
It is not known exactly how long these festivals, which are held traditionally in some mountain pastures of the Eastern Part of Black Sea Region, have been organized. But, a historian named Tirebolulu Alparslan, while talking about these festivals, expresses that they have been organized for 4-5 centuries and some of the people of the district that live on stockbreeding and farming go to the mountain pastures in summer season and some of them stay in the villages for agricultural activities (Alparslan, 1915, s.125–126).
These festivals that the people of the district participate in a joyful harmony are accepted as the time of relaxing and forgetting the problems of the past year (Zaman, 2000, s.292).
The festivals that have been held since centuries are the densely crowded entertainments of the mountain pastures that are organized. Although it is running low, people, who go to the pastures on foot to take part in the festivals, get ready one day before the festivals and go to the pastures by groups with road games as in previous years. They go the mountain pastures by dancing with folksongs accompanied by kemençe(fiddle), tulum(bagpipe), drum and horn all along the way. Şenlikçiler are welcomed with a great delight and excitement by the transhumants and the outdoor diversions go on till the late hours. However, most of the people (şenlikçi) do not go to the mountain pastures on foot but by their cars as a result of the developing ways and the increasing number of contemporary vehicles. Consequently, the traditional participation to the festivals has loosing its specialty with each passing year.
In the mountain pasture festivals in the Eastern Black Sea part in various folkdances different musical instrument are played, for instance in Giresun, Ordu, and Trabzon kemençe(fiddle), drum and horn are popular, and in Rize and Artvin tulum(bagpipe) is chosen. Also; in Şavsat/Artvin accordion, drum and horn are played.
Lots of festivals are held in different times through the all trashumance season in the mountain pastures in Eastern Black Sea. The most important of these are Otçular, Karadağ, Izmiş, Çambaşı, Bektaş, Kümbet, Honeftera, Sisdağı, Sivri, Kafkasör and Kazıkbeli.