Most of the Mari people live in the territory of the Mari ElRepublic. The historians believe that the ancestors of the modern Mari came to this area about 1500 years ago. Their lands expand on both sides of the Volga: the river divided the people into two ethnic groups - mountain and meadow ones.
What ceremonies, rituals, holidays did the Mari have in the late 19th - early 20th centuries, how do people live today? You can find it out by visiting the EvseevNational Museum of the Republic of Mari El. The Museum of the Mari fairy tales“Silver-toothed Pampalcha” provides information about folklore, fairy tales, and legends.
The Mari people have an extensive and diverse cuisine that includes many original and tasty dishes made of the fruits of the forest, fish and herbs. Potatoes are considered the “second bread”. You can taste the national Mari cuisine in the Sandal cafe, the Mari restaurant, the Warm River tavern. The dishes that are mandatory for taste are as follows: podkogoli (boiled pasties with various stuffing), komanmelna (multi-layered pancakes), ӱyacha (honey small round loafs).
The Mari people have managed to preserve and brought to our days their original and distinctive national culture. People expressed their thoughts and feelings, dreams of happiness and beautythrough the songs, music and dance art.
The ShketanMari National Drama Theater produces all its shows in the Mari language, offers an interesting and informative program for the tourists titled “Mari National Instruments”. The Mari peopleare talented by nature. In former times, almost everyone knew how to play any instrument, whether it was kusle (harp), tumyr (drum), tӧtretpuch (horn), shiyaltysh (pipe), shuvyr (bagpipe), etc. The theater artists demonstrate proficiency in playing these instruments and in detail talk about them. In addition, they show the national Mari costumes by visual demonstration.
Another program in the theater is the Heritage. The ethnic and folklore composition will show what songs were sung by the mother to still a child, to send off her husband and while away the evenings with embroidery, what games the young people played when relaxing after work, how the holidays were celebrated and the wedding festivals were held in the village.
The national musical instruments can be seen not only in the theater. The sculpture “Tree of Life” is located in Central Culture and Leisure Park, symbolizing the continuity of the Mari peoplegenerations. The sculpture that embodies the spiritual life of the Mari people, is based on three figures in national costumes with the musical instruments: a young man with a drum, a middle-aged man with a bagpipe and an old man with a harp. A tree is the composition center as a symbol of life or a world tree, often used in the national ornament of Mari embroidery.
While walking around the city, you can also see the monuments and sculptures made in honor of prominent representatives of the Mari art: YivanKyrlya - the first Mari film actor; Sergey Chavain - the originator of the Mari classical literature; Ivan Klyuchnikov-Palantay - the originator of the Mari professional music; ArkadyKrupnyakov- a writer, Russian playwright and journalist.
By visiting theguest houses near the city, you can experience the Mari hospitality. UnaKudo is a Mari farmstead, a stylized interactive platform, a colorful model of a Mari farmstead that is located in the Kim village (17 km away from Yoshkar-Ola). The Mari Houseethnic complex is an ethnographic interactive platform where the tourists are offered to immerse themselves in the national culture and “become a Mari for an hour”.