Kyrgyzstan: Traditions

To put on a horse

 "Atka mingizuu"

Nomads have many legends, myths, songs, stories and customs that are connected with Kambar-ata (spiritual patron of horses).One of them is a tradition "Atka mingizuu" that means "to put on a horse".

A father with proud put his son at the age of 3-4 years on a horse and gives him for the first time the rein. After this the most respectful aksakal (old wise man) takes reins and begins to lead the horse with the child along ail, Kyrgyz village.

It is considered, that in the future the son should substitute his father and he should be a good master in his house. In the honor of having this ritual parents organize a cheerful toi (celebration). Aksakals give their blessing to the child and explain him that from this moment he becomes a real horseman. In pass time it was one of the most important traditions in Kyrgyzstan.


Ritual of circumcision

"Sunnot toi"

One of the most important Muslim rituals is "balany oturguzuu" or ritual of circumcision.

It is a big celebration for Kyrgyz families. When a boy is 3-5 year old he must go through this ritual.

It is considered to be the most important and happiest event in the life of each boy. Relatives and friends are invited to the ceremony of circumcision. Sometimes the celebration with a lot of food lasts for several days; guests play national games such as ulak tartysh, at chabysh, er oodarysh, etc. Invited guests must bring gifts for the boy. The most valuable gift is a horse. Horses are considered to be very important for all people who live in Kyrgyzstan. Even nowadays when peole use cars - a horse is still one of the symbols of Kyrgyz nation.

Conduction of this ritual is a sacramental duty for Muslims. 

A name for a child

"At kojuu"

People from Kyrgyzstan think that the future of a child in many cases depends on his name. That is why parents try to choose for their child such a name which would bring him happiness, luck, and honor. This tradition appeared when Kyrgyz adopted Muslim religion.

The beginning of ritual is accompanied by proclaiming of azan - when an honorable guest, turning to the west (exactly in this direction Muslim turn to Allah during the pray) and pronounces three times "Allah Akbar!" and than the name of the newborn child. It is done to inform people about new person that has come into our world. Execution of this ritual is entrusted to one of the most closest and respectable person.

The celebration goes very merrily. Gathered guests sincerely graduate parents and wish that the name will bring the child only happiness and luck.


Cradle celebration

"Beshik toi"

Birth of a child for Kyrgyz, like for the other nationalities of the world is real happiness and the greatest celebration. After giving name to a child there is a special tradition in Kyrgyzstan - "beshik toi" or cradle celebration. Many guests are invited to celebrate it. Parents prepare a lot of food. During the celebration people sing songs, play games and dance.

According to the tradition parents from the mother's side should prepare a bed for a cradle, as an obligatory attribute for the child. A cradle is spread with oil and smoked with juniper. Noble grandmothers take left and right alchiks (small bones of sheep) and lay them on the bottom of the cradle. Alchiks fall into kultuk (a hole on the bottom of cradle) and grandmothers say: "On bol" - be lucky. After this they say the following words: "Mother-cradle, keep tightly, mother Umai, give him health" Umai is a feminine mythical creature, who protects children.  Then they cover the cradle with different blankets and counterpanes. After this the cradle is given to the mother of the child. She goes with the cradle back and forward and at the same time she bows to all guests. Invited guests give their blessing to the mother and her child. A happy mother pronounces first lulling words: "Aldei-aldei ak bobok ak beshikke jat bobok" -   Oh baby, you are so sweet, sleep in cradle, my little child.


 "Bata beruu"

From ancient time Kyrgyz people valued the spiritual wishes - blessings. Blessing as you know encourage people and give them hope and energy. All children had to be blessed in Kyrgyzstan. Usually the infants and adolescents are blessed by respected people - wise aksakals or noble baibiche.

Blessings are given for good beginning of new affair or after eating. Also grandparents bless their children and grandchildren in order to give them wisdom and strong health.



Welcome to Kyrgyzstan!