The Tour The Guidebook Life Celebrations

1st January: New Year

New Year is a big event in Uzbekistan although outside the capital it's mainly a family affair rather than a street party. On New Year's Eve most people go from house to house visiting relations and eating an enormous amount of food. Often people won't sleep until sunrise. There are a number of Christmas elements such as Father Snow (rather than Father Christmas) which were incorporated into the secular, Soviet amalgamation of these two festivals.

8th March: Women's Day

This festival dates from soviet times and is rather like 'Mother's Day' for every girl and woman. Florists and shops do a roaring trade since it's the custom to give gifts of flowers, chocolates or small knick-knacks to the important women in your life. Garish, plasitc flowers are particularly well received.

21st March: Navrus

Navrus celebrates the beginning of the Muslim new year and is a time of street parties in the Old City, eating 'cok berek' (a dish which is only available in the spring) and making 'sumalak' with friends and neighbours.

9th May: Victory/Remembrance Day

This day is set aside for honouring those who fell in the Patriotic War against Fascism. Elderly men, and not a few old women proudly display their medals at a ceremony in the Remembrance Park.

1st June: Children's Day

Children's Day is a day for celebrating children and childhood. Usually there are lots of things to see in the Old City such as stalls representing various schools and factories, dancers, musicians and the ubiquitous ice-cream sellers.

1st September: Independence Day ('Mustakilik')

This is one of the biggest festivals of the year and it marks Uzbekistan's independence from the USSR in 1991. During the day people normally crowd the Old City in order to wander around and see the many stalls and displays of musicians, dancers, puppets and tight-rope walkers. At night there is sometimes a firework display.

1st October: Teacher's day

This is a great day for teachers when they receive gifts of flowers, chocolates and vases from their grateful pupils and students.

Other festivals include Ramadan, the Muslim fast of 30 days. Every evening the fast is broken by drinking water and something sweet, such as dates or 'neshalla' (a white sticky mixture rather like whisked egg white), before getting stuck into more substantial food. People often invite their friends and neighbours for special evening parties during this time. One of the high points of Ramadan is the 'Night of Power' when Muslims believe God is especially willing to answer prayers. The final day of the fast is called 'Rosa Eid' and this includes preparing 'borsok', (deep-fried diamond pieces of dough) and leaving them at the graves of deceased relatives.
'Corban Eid' comes 70 days after 'Rosa Eid'. This is also a day of remembering relatives who have died as well as remembering the prophet Abraham's near-sacrifice of his son.



A Ramadan evening party

Tour Links:
‘Ferris Wheel’
Guidebook Links:
‘Menu of Uzbek Dishes’
'Death and Dying'