Uzbek national traditions

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Uzbek national traditions.



1.Uzbekistan Traditions and Customs


The Uzbek culture has much in common with the culture of other Muslim countries, but nevertheless it has its own features. Having booked a tour to Uzbekistan in our company you will have a fascinating opportunity to feel on your personal experience all original beauty and a rich cultural heritage of the Uzbek people.

A great number of rites and customs accompany the Uzbek family life. Weddings are considered to be the most important event in one's life. Preparations for this special occasion begin from the birth.

Uzbeks love to gather in big groups and entertain the whole village (kishlak) or mahallya (community in cities) on family occasions. Mass people's festivities are widely celebrated. They are followed by various ceremonies, festive bazaars at which musicians, dancers, wrestlers perform. Uzbeks are very friendly and hospitable people. It is said: "If one does not have delicious food for a guest, one should have sweet words for him". Uzbeks are supportive of each other. The ancient custom of Khashar is a unique form of mutual assistance. If a fellow-villager finds himself in difficulty, all the neighbours gather to help him. Mutual assistance reveals itself also while preparing for wedding and circumcision parties, house building, and funeral ceremonies. Uzbeks traditionally have respect for older people.


January, 1st - New Year

Uzbekistan celebrates New Year on the first of January. This holiday was introduced to Uzbek people together with the adoption of Gregorian Calendar in the end of 19th century by russians. Therefore, the celebration of a New Year and the symbols of the holiday is almost same as in Russia. Main symbol is, of course a decorated Christmas tree. However, locals do not associate it with the Christmas. Grandfather Frost and Snow Maiden are also main characters of the New Year in Uzbekistan. People at this time celebrate and widely mark this holiday with native and close behind the covered elegant table. Also gifts and surprises are traditionally presented each other. They will visit friends and relatives or enjoy themselves dancing until midnight from 31st December till 1st January, when hours solemnly beat 12 hours. Then they welcome the New Year wishing each other happy new year. Some people gather in Restaurants or night clubs, where special New Year Party shows are orginized, while others meet with family members at homes.

January, 14th - Day of Defenders of the Native Land

This holiday in independent Uzbekistan is celebrated in honor of creation of own Army forces. On 14th January, 1992, the parliament made a decision on transition of all parts and connections, military educational institutions and other military formations of the soviet army deployed in territory of the country under jurisdiction of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Holiday is celebrated in mainly military institutionas and widely publicized in mass media.

March, 8th - International Women’s' Day

Nowadays this is a major day of global celebration of women. This holiday was introduced to Uzbek people as a honor to working women during the soviet era. however, it is lost its ts political flavour, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother's Day and St Valentine's Day that are celebrated in the West. On this day it is customary for men to give the women in their lives – mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, colleagues, etc. – flowers and small gifts.

March, 21st - Navruz

Literally means New Day in Persian language. Although Navruz is not an islamic holiday, it was widely celebrated among locals (mainly muslims) as a beginning of the New Year before the Georgian calendar was intuduced. Celebrating navruz was prohibited in soviet times, but after the independence, the government declared it as a national holiday and symbol of spring. Symbols: Blossoming trees and flowers, sprin, sumalak (national dish) In Navruz Many Uzbek family prepare for national dishes such as: sumalak, halim, samosa from spring greens, pilov and others. Preparation of sumalak, which is usually boiled in large pots and needs continuous mixing, takes approximatety 24 hours. Thus, people gather around the pots and spend the day and night singing and dancing national folclore. People go out on navruz with family members or friends and attend Navruz celebrations, national dance and sporting shows, which are orginized in city and town centers and parks.

May, 9th - Day of Memory and Honor

Firstly celebrated as the Victory Day that marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in the Second World War. It was first inaugurated in the fifteen republics of the Soviet Union. It has been celebrated since 1946 and the holiday became a non-labour day only in 1965 and only in some of the countries. After the independence, Uzbekistan built Memorial of Memory in the center of Tashkent in 1999 and declared 9th of May as a Day of Memory and Honor. Now, this holiday is celebrated in honour and memory of compatriots who spend their lives protecting the country, its freedom and independence in the past. Poeople visit memorials and place flowers. Visit elder people who have spend their lives heroically and remember those who have passed. Mainly at memorials of Memory and Honour that are found in almost all city centers

September, 1st - Independence Day

One of the greatest and widely celebrated holidays of Uzbekistan - Independence Day. The country obtained its independence from Soviet Union on September 1st, 1991 and since then it is celebrating this day as a National Holiday. Holiday celebrations, festivals and concierts are organized throughout the country and people go out for public places and parks in the city. Mass media widely publicizes the events hold in various places of the country and broadcasts the concierts. Main celebration conciert, where the president of Uzbekistan attends, is hold on August 31st in Tashkent's Navoi Park.

October, 1st - Teachers' Day

Students congratulate their teachers and give flowers and small gifts. media broadcasts many programs and shows dedicated to the education and role of teachers in the development of new generation.

December, 8th - Constitution Day

This holiday marks the adoption of new constitution of the independent country on December 8th, 1992. Government organizes celebration and concerts in many places and awards some people in honor of their work and patriotism.

Eid al-Adha (Ramazon hayit) and Eid al-Fitr (Kurban Hayit)

As in all countries where live muslims, Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr are widely celebrated in Uzbekistan too. People have been celebrating these holidays for many centuries but they were prohibited during the soviet times. But after the independence government declared them as a naitonal holiday. Men go to mosques early morning to pray holiday prayers and then visit relatives. Women set up a holiday table. Elders give candies and sweets to children.

Uzbek national wedding

The major holiday in life of any person is wedding. Traditionally neighbors, colleagues, relatives from near and far cities and settlements, friends and acquaintances from mahalla (local quarter) are invited for the ceremony, so in the end it comes as several hundreds of people. In this connection for last decades in the cities they have built capacious wedding restaurants which are called toyhona (“toy” is a holiday, “hona” is a room).

Modern Uzbek weddings take place mainly according to ancient traditions and ceremonies: since early morning in the house of the groom national tools - karnay and surnay sound, mother sees off the son, calling to him three times and at last treating with a sweet (to make family life sweet), and he gives her a handkerchief with money; further the groom with friends goes to the house of the bride accompanied by musicians, friends by all means should dance on road, and time to time someone from them jumps up and tries to bring down a wedding cap from the groom’head (even if he doesn’t wear it).


Beshik Toyi – a ritual solemnity related to the first put of the baby into the cradle. This is one of the most ancient and widespread ceremonies in Uzbekistan. Usually this event is held on the 7th, 9th, 11th day after the birth of the baby. In various areas of Uzbekistan, this ritual takes place in a different way scale of the event depends on the family's income: rich families usually celebrate this event widely inviting neighbors and most of the relatives. Families with low income celebrate it moderately within the family. Beshik ("cradle") and other necessary stuff such as baby table, clothes, toy and etc. for the baby are provided by the relatives of the baby from a mother side. Baby's parents, grandparents prepare gifts. Richly decorated beshik and gifts are loaded into the vehicle together with the guests. With sounds of local musicians the vehicle goes to the house where baby is born. By tradition, delivered beshik is taken on the right shoulder by baby's grandfather, and then passed to the right shoulder of his son, who then delivers it to baby's mother. Guests are invited into the living room to the rich table. In the next room, in the presence of old women baby’s clothes are changed and put into the cradle. At the end of the ceremony, guests come to see the baby and to deliver presents. When ceremony is over, guests go home with full of good emotions, presents, wishing the best to the house and the hosts!

Sunnat toy - Khatna Qilish - Circumcision

Khatna Qilish is another ancient Uzbek ceremony adopted after accepting Islam (Sunnat Tuyi). This ceremony is held for boys at ages 3, 5, 7, 9 but nowadays this aging is not strict and one can do this ceremony when needed. This ceremony is also called “Sunnat”. Since the birth of a baby boy, parents begin preparation for the Sunnat Tuyi, gradually acquiring all necessary things. Few months before the ceremony which is often referred to as the "Celebration" ("Tui"), active preparations are started. Relatives and neighbors help sew quilts, prepare gifts. All this often ordered to the women with large family in terms of children. Prior to celebration, the Quran is recited in the presence of the elders of Mahalla (Neighborhood), imam of the mosque and relatives. Table is set and after the Quran is read elders bless the boy. During the celebration different gifts and presents are given to the child. In the past, it was customary to give the foal, on which the boy was seated. It as was a sign of a man - a warrior. On the same day, among the women held "Tahurar" - lying blankets and pillows on the chest, this ceremony is usually done by a respected woman. Lavish food including world famous “Palov” ends the ceremonial.

Morning Osh Palov

Ceremony of the morning palov usually held during the wedding and memorial services, other holidays like birth of child or anniversaries. Normally, host of the palov, after discussion with close relative and community, fix the date of palov long beforehand and send invitations. The day before the actual palov, in the house of the host family, preparations starts for the palov, including clearing and preparing of all necessary ingredients for the palov, and other food on the table. Normally all close relative and friends of the family taking part in this process. After preparations ended, all guests are invited for the dinner. Usually artists are also invited for “Sabzi Tograr”. Also, during the “Sabzi tograr” elders are distributing the tasks among youngsters for tomorrow’s palov. Morning feasting should be ready by the time when morning pray ends and first guests are arrived. Normally, in the summer time, it is about 4-5 am and in winter about 6-7 am. During the palov, Uzbek musical instruments like “Karnay” and “Surnay” “Doira” and “Nogora” played to please the guests and announce the celebration. Guests get comfortable around the tables and after blessing the hosts and good wishes, tea and famous Uzbek hot breads served. Palov is served in “lagans” (big plate) – one plate for two guests. After meal is finished, lagans are taken off and guests again make wishes and blessing of the host and leave. After, tables refreshed quickly for the new guests. Morning palov usually lasts no more than one and a half to two hours. During the feast artists are performing for the guests with classic songs. In morning palov, for honorable guests gifts are given – usually these are “Chapan” (traditional men's robes) which is another tradition of hospitable Uzbek people. Memorial palov is a bit different from the holiday palov. In this case, guests are reading the verses from Quran and remember with good words of deceased person, presenting condolences to the family of the deceased person. After palov, again they read the verses from Quran and leave. There are no artist invited for such ceremonies and tables are more modest. It is interesting to note that in both holiday and funeral palov, only men participating.

Mahalla – The Neighborhood

To the traditional forms of social relations in Uzbekistan belongs first of all “Mahalla” – the neighborhood community. Uzbek “Mahalla” has rich and ancient history and is the center of family and religious ceremonies and festivals. Here in “Mahalla” carefully preserved and passed on from one to next generation their holding rituals. Usually, there is a local mosque in each “Mahalla”. It is still alive old tradition of mutual aid – “Hashar”. With this aid “Khashar” community helps build the houses for the inhabitants of local “Mahalla”, improving their district, street, city and etc. In sovereign Uzbekistan “Mahalla” has become the keeper of cultural and moral traditions of the Uzbek people, recognized as self-government mechanism. Today “Mahalla” is a territorial association of families with a goal to co-operation and mutual help in whole territory of Uzbekistan both old districts with old and traditional houses and new parts of cities with high-rise buildings. In “Mahalla” live in peace and harmony people of different nationalities. Network of more than 10,000 “Mahallas” covers the entire territory of the country and are an important element in the strengthening of civil society. The entire population of Uzbekistan will recognize them as an effective form of social life.
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