Munkha

The famous ice fishing on crucian carp in Yakutia is called Munkha. They gather for this fishing almost throughout the village and it takes place in the fall, when the ice is already strong enough. Usually, one of the most experienced old people, who knows where and how best to carry out a net, leads the whole action. Before the start, they necessarily «feed» the fire, cajoling the Bayanai — the spirit and master of the forest, the patron saint of hunters and fishermen. After that, ice crucian fishing itself begins — a labor-intensive business that requires well-coordinated work of many people, which is why we need someone elder, an expert on munkha and this lake, who leads the whole process.

During fishing, the following signs are observed: you can’t scream loudly, rejoice noisily (otherwise the Spirit of the lake will be offended) and even worse, step over the spread net. The most unpleasant thing is if someone inadvertently misses an ice pick and drowns it in an ice hole, then definitely do not expect good luck. But if a raven arrives during fishing — alone or in a flock — this is for good catch.

After fishing, the whole catch is usually divided into everyone who was present at the munkha. Thus, both the elderly and children, who still do not know how to hold the rope, get equally with all the participants.