Saturday, April 11, 2009

Festival of Falconry

An e-mail from Kazakhstan pinged into my mailbox the other day. I laughed out loud when I opened the attachment - a photo with newly-made Kazakh friends at the Festival of Falconry, held in Reading, England in 2007. My camera died shortly after arriving – and I had virtually no photos of my own.

One thing I love about falconry meets on the Continent, is the rich multiculturalism. Sitting at dinner with falconers from several different nations, discussing the day's sport and a myriad of other things as best one can through shared languages and fragmented translations, never grows old.

Oddly, fragmented though the conversations may have been, I never remember them that way - the translator is quickly forgotten and, when I think back on the memory, it is as though we were conversing quite fine on our own.

With that sentiment, I enjoyed myself to no end in Reading - the Festival is proof that falconry transcends age, socioeconomic status, and language - it is amazing the kinds of detailed flights that one is able to gesticulate and recount through a small universal vocabulary! In particular, I found it a treasure for eagle falconry.

Eagle falconers from across Europe and central Asia attended. I fondly recall discussing such things as the Velvet Revolution and its impacts on falconry with a Slovak, methods of hacking eagles with an Austrian, the homeryi race of golden eagles with a Belgian, the thrill of waiting-on flights with the Brits, and the virtues of passage eagles with Kazakhs.

Of course, there is much more than the eagle side of things, and far more to be said on the event in general. The second Festival is scheduled for July 11-12th, 2009.

One photo I did manage; Turkmen falconers.


Andrew Campbell said...

Nice contrast between the telpek and the English riding helmet! Must have been a fascinating event.

Did you ever make it to any of the Eagle Festivals in Olgii?


Jason "all in one printer" Collins said...

Great costumes guys!
I want to try the purple one!