Inspiro Group - Travel and Logistics
Inspiro Group - Travel and Logistics
Inspiro Group - Travel and Logistics
96, Boulevard Erkindik, Bishkek,
720040, Kyrgyz Republic
Tel.: +996 (312) 30-46-17, 90-12-95
Fax: +996 (312) 90-12-95

Feasts and Holidays

Feasts and Holidays

Leisure Time. Official holidays in Kyrgyzstan are:
January 1 - New Years Day
January 7 - Russian Orthodox Christmas
March 8 - Women's Holiday
March 21 - Nooruz (Muslim New Year, Day of Vernal Equinox)
May 1 -International Day of Solidarity Among Workers
May 9 - Day of Victory over Fascism
June 13 - Kurban Ait (day of remembrance)
August 31 - Day of Independence

Nooruz (New Year)
Nooruz is the Muslim New Years, and the most widely celebrated holiday in Kyrgyzstan. It has been celebrated on March 21st for more than 2,000 years. A lot of preparation goes into this special day. People buy or make new clothes, and boz ui are erected and decorated with juniper to make them as attractive as possible. In Bishkek, the colossal festivities culminate in a game of ulak tartysh (see below), and in every city and village in the land, smaller but no less lively celebrations take place. It is a great honor to take part in Nooruz, which is held in Muslim countries all over the world.

Uilonuu toi (Wedding Feast)
Before they get married, the young couples parents prepare clothes for them. The brides mother, sisters-in-law and friends put up a white yurt. The groom and his friends come to take the bride away. According to tradition, the brides mother and sister-in-law sing koshok (a lament over her departure) and say good-bye to each other. Her sisters-in-law accompany the bride to the grooms house, where the wedding party starts.

Beshik toi (Craddle Feast)
This feast celebrates a new childs first day in the cradle, within a week of his or her birth. The beshik is a wooden cradle used to swaddle a child until he or she starts walking. Historically, the Kyrgyz made very simple beshiks, suitable to their nomadic way of life. Two arcs are made from a bunch of dry willow as thick as a forearm; holes are made in their bases. Sticks matching these holes are attached, and wicker rope is strung between the sticks. A mattress is spread out inside.

Jentek toi (Birth Feast)
New parents show their happiness by treating their neighbors, and a mark of respect is to treat people to sary mai (yellow butter). First it is put into the babys mouth, followed by the oldest person in the house. The sary mai is kept in a slaughtered lambs, sheeps or calfs stomach for the purpose of this feast. To honor the baby, guests bring clothes, animals or food. Relatives offer calves, sheep or lambs. They can also present a shyrdak (carpet) or horse-cloth.

National Games
Kyrgyz people usually hold their national games on public holidays and at feasts. There are many traditional horse games.

Ulak Tartysh
This game takes place between two teams of 6 to 10 riders whose object is to throw a goat carcass into the opposing teams goal. This gets extremely rough, and the strength required to muscle through the defense and heave the 20-kg carcass into the goal is daunting. Kyrgyzstans national team regularly takes home the world championship (though ulak is mainly a Central Asian game, Russia and India have teams, and Germany and Japan have petitioned to play in 2004).

This is a contest between a young man and a young woman, both on horseback. The object of the game is for the man to try to overtake the woman. The woman is given a faster horse and a head start of about 5 to 10 seconds. Only then can the young man start his pursuit. If he catches her, he is rewarded with a kiss on her face. If he does not catch up with her, then the woman gives him a lashing with a whip.

Upai (score) is a childrens game played with chuko (sheep bones) on flat ground. Somewhat similar to the Western game of marbles, the object is to knock as many chuko as possible by throwing a weighted chuko or large rock from a distance. Each 3 chukos knocked make one set called an upai or basym. The goal is to gain as many upais as possible.

The Kyrgyz play many other games: at-chabysh (horse racing), jamby atmai (archery), kurosh (wrestling), oodarysh (wrestling on horseback), tiyin enmey (picking up a coin from the ground at full gallop), nardy (a simplified version of backgammon), and ordo (capture the kings palace a game played with animals bones (alchik).

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