“Munkha” is a famous type of ice fishing for carp in Yakutia. Almost the whole village gets together for this fishing, like for the summer festival Ysyakh (the holiday of the meeting of the sun), and it happens in autumn when the ice is hard enough.
One of the most experienced elders who knows where and how better to net usually manages all the action. Before the beginning, it is important to «feed» the fire, to appease “Bayanay” — the spirit and the lord of the forest, patron of hunters and fishermen. After that the actual ice fishing begins— it is a time-consuming case, which requires the coordinated work of many people, this why it needs someone senior, expert of Munkha and the lake, who manages the whole process.
While fishing superstitions are followed: it is forbidden to shout and rejoice loudly (the Spirit of the lake will take offense), also women cannot touch the gear, and an even worse thing is the crossing through the unfolded net. The worst one is if someone accidentally loses ice pick and drown it into the ice hole, then do not wait for luck. However, if during the fishing, crows fly to you — one or a flock, is a good sign to the catch.
Of course, superstitions could work, but it all depends on the right choice of the place and the anglers’ skills. The catch might be estimated from ten to a hundred or more bags of elite carp, but even after having a very large fortune is not accepted to enjoy too loudly to not displeasing Bajanai.
After fishing, all of the fish are usually divided between all people who attended Munkha. Thus, even all elderly and children, who do not know how to hold the rope, can get equally as all participants.
In Yakutia, the carp is especially fat, it contains a lot of protein and calcium. During the war, when almost all the food was sent to the front, people were saved from starvation only because of carps and rabbits, so they have a special respect. In Yakutsk even erected a small monument to the Carp.
For the guests of Yakutia, Munkha is an incredible sight. Few people can catch a ton of fish and share all the fish with the whole village.