PH: The Iditarod sled-dog races started in Alaska in 1973 and annually celebrates sled-dog teams that made it through blizzards to bring life-saving medicine to Nome in 1925. So the sled-dog races have happened every year since they started in 1973 to celebrate. It’s definitely one of the most prominent rituals in Alaska, everyone shows up for it. Kids are commonly told the story of Balto, a half wolf half husky dog that led the original dog sled in 1925. There’s like movies and events surrounding it, it’s a huge part of modern Alaskan culture. 


PH: I have been going to the Fur Rondy festivities and Iditarod since I was a child and into adulthood. As times have changed, downtown Anchorage now holds the Ceremonial Start for the Iditarod but the official start has moved to Big Lake, roughly two hours north, where there is more snow and less people.


The Iditarod is a nationally famous celebration, children throughout the country are told about the story of Balto and the dog-sledding in Alaska. This event is similar to the Dragon Boat Festival, in that it honors a historical event with an annual ritual designed to recreate a difficult situation that was overcome in some manner.