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Holidays

National Holidays of Uzbekistan

Day of Defenders of the Motherland

All men of Uzbekistan are celebrated on this day. Because initially every man is the defender of his honor, home and Motherland… But particularly warm words sound at this holiday about military men, for whom the 14th of January (the day, when Armed Forces of Uzbekistan were established) is the professional holiday. The Day of defenders of Motherland is the great state holiday and it is observed in broad and spectacular way. This day the ranks of military men in full dress are lined up on the main square of the country in order to accept congratulations and awards from the leader of the country.The representatives of the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Internal Affairs, National Security Service and other institutions participate in this ceremony. The moment, when the marching of all force divisions begins along the square to the sound of military orchestra, is particularly colorful. Participants of the parade also lay the wreaths to the monument of Independence.

Independence Day

The 1st of September, 1991, is the birthday of new independent republic of Uzbekistan. It is the first and most important public holiday of the country. The whole country celebrates the anniversary of Independence in wide, bright and funny way. Each region (there are 12 regions in Uzbekistan) prepare various festive programs. Wherever you find yourself this day, you will find a fascinating sight: performances of original folk groups, excitable sports events, various shows and noisy craft fairs. And of course what a holiday is without treats? Festive pilaf is served in the centre of a large table, which gathers members of a family, colleagues, neighbors, friends… The capital of Uzbekistan is preparing to the celebration in advance, because the festive show, which takes place on the main square of the country, the Independence Square, is so spectacular and grandiose that it just takes one’s breath away. Hundreds of extras, dozens of musical and dance groups, the most interesting pop and movie stars participate in it. And in the evening the square is lit up with grandiose fireworks.

International Women’s Day

If in Russia in the early spring it is still snowy and frosty, then in Uzbekistan the 8th of March falls on nice and wonderful time, when the nature is finally awoke, revived and blossomed out with all colors, filling everything round with delightful scent. It is so resemble with wonderful image of a woman! That is why at this holiday men with particular inspiration congratulate their beloved women: wives, friends, mothers, sisters, daughters and colleagues… “Armed” with flowers, champagnes and gifts (which they have been selecting in agony the whole previous week), they hurry to celebrate this event with their family, friends and colleagues. And what is about beautiful ladies? On this day they are the heroines of a feast: fine toasts, poems, songs and dances are devoted to them. Especially the atmosphere of the holiday is perceptible in the capital. On the largest stage of the country, Istiklol Palace, the annual concert in honor of women is held with the participation of local pop stars. Greetings about beautiful ladies are heard from every stage of the capital: whether a night club or theatre. Usually premiers and performances of invited foreign pop stars are timed to this day.

Kurban Hayit

Kurban Hayit (Eid al-Adha) is one of the biggest holidays in the Islamic world. It marks the end of the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). Kurban Hayit is celebrated 70 days after the end of another major holiday – Ramadan Hayit. Since 1991, the religious holiday of Kurban Hayit in Uzbekistan has been declared as a public holiday and is widely celebrated in the country. Preparations for both Ramadan Hayit and Kurban Hayit (Eid al-Adha) begin the day before Hayit and this day is called “Arafa”. On the day of Arafa traditional pastry: “kush-tili”, “bugirsok” – fancy pastry balls, “orama”, “chak-chak” – straws and nuts in sugar and others are prepared by every Uzbekistan family. In the evening every family cooks festive plov, which neighbors usually pass to each other. Plov is served in kosa (big ceramic bowl) and decorated with pastry on top. Kurban Hayit, as in other countries, starts with a morning Hayit-namaz (prayer). After Hayit namaz the sacrifice is done. In most cases in Uzbekistan sheep is sacrificed, rarely -cows, and quite rarely – camels. After the sacrifices made it is obligatory to divide the meat into three parts: a precondition – at least one third should be distributed to people in need and not more than a one third should be left to the family. Even Kurban Hayit is a holiday, there is a rule to visit the cemeteries of relatives these days. Therefore, a few days before the holiday “mazar”s (cemeteries) are tidied up. This was always supervised by mahalla’s (residential quarters) residents local gathering. Each mahalla has its own area in mazar. Many local ancient traditions are intertwined with the religious ones; this becomes particularly prominent in the days of Ramadan Hayit and Kurban Hayit. Children enjoy the holidays most of all – there is a range of toys and sweets, which are produced and sold only in the days of Hayits: wooden and tin rattles, tin fifes and clay whistles, candy canes of various shapes and sweet big balls “bodirok” (popcorn) and variety of kazinaki (sunflower seeds, peanut and other varieties of seeds and nuts brittles). Kurban Hayit lasts for three days. At this time people visit their old relatives and neighbors. At homes where there is a “kelin” (newly wedded wife) guests are welcomed, ‘kelin’ meets the guests, doing “kelin-salom” (ritual easy half-bow). Her head and face are covered with a translucent bride veil. These days in Uzbek “mahalla” you can see flocks of kids, mostly little girls who go from house to house in a crowd, admiring well-dressed newly married wives and are treated with sweets.

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Memorial Day

On the 9th of May Uzbekistan observes the Memorial Day, the holiday of warm sadness, reverent respect, pride and profound gratitude. Uzbekistan has made an invaluable contribution to the victory against fascism. Thousands of Uzbek people worked on the home front, the republic accepted refugees, evacuated enterprises, secured the rear. During the World War II Uzbekistan lost more than 450 thousand people. And on May 9, all residents of the country, as well as millions of people around the world congratulate their veterans: festive concerts, feasts, charity events, awards with prizes are held in all cities. Uzbekistan holidays In Tashkent, the center of festivities is the Independence Square, where the Alley of Fame and Memory is located. There are granite steles on both sides of the alley, on which the names of all Uzbeks, killed in the fronts of the World War II are engraved. And as eternally mourning for their sons as eternally mourning for their sons, the Grieving Mother “stiffened” in bronze, symbolizing the motherland.

Navruz

Navruz is one of the most treasured holidays in Uzbekistan. Sometimes known as Persian New Year, Navruz is a chance to celebrate nature, to welcome a new year, and to enjoy flavorful food with friends, neighbors, and family. The most famous of Navruz dish is sumalak, made from germinated grains and stirred for a whole day by the women of the neighborhood. Navruz originated in Khorasan, in northeastern Iran, about 3000 years ago. Navruz is celebrated on the spring equinox, which is usually March 21. Also known as Nowruz, the holiday is celebrated across Western Asia and Central Asia, all the way to the Black Sea and the Balkans. Though many people celebrate Navruz as a secular holiday, it is a religious holiday for Zoroastrians. The holiday celebrates the day in the spring when day and night are equal, and is the start of a new year. Traditionally, people forgive their enemies, make amends, help the poor, and cleanse their houses and consciences for a good start to a new year. Sumalak (also known as samanu) is one of the main attractions on Navruz. Sumalak is made from germinated wheat, and takes a whole night to cook. Women from the mahalla (neighborhood) gather around the pot to sing and stir, so that the sumalak doesn’t burn. In the morning, the warm sumalak is handed out to neighbors, relatives and friends. With the first taste of sumalak, you should make a wish. Tables are laid with plenty of food, including samsa and plov, plus nishalda, a sweet dessert of whipped egg whites, and sugar. People pay visits and welcome guests, using Navruz as a time to share what they have with others. Horse games and sporting competitions are also popular, as are fairs with traditional dishes and souvenirs.

Ramadan Hayit

Ramadan Hayit (Ruza Hayit, Eid al-Fitr) is a celebration of spiritual and moral purification. The holiday celebrates completion of Islamic month of fasting Ruza (Ramadan), which lasts 30 days and is considered as a rite of spiritual and moral purification. In the month of Ramadan while fasting from dawn until sunset, Muslims refrain from consuming food and drinking liquids, they should avoid bad thoughts, treat others in respectful manner and do good. Fasting is obligatory for every Muslim, it helps to strengthen their faith and teaches self-discipline. Fasting is not allowed for small children, people who are suffering from illness or those who are travelling. Ramadan Hayit, as in other countries, starts with a morning Hayit-namaz (prayer). After the prayer the Ramadan Hayit starts, which lasts for three days. Since 1992, the religious holiday of Ramadan Hayit in Uzbekistan has been declared as a public holiday and is widely celebrated in the country. Preparations for both Ramadan Hayit and Kurban Hayit (Eid al-Adha) begin the day before Hayit and this day is called “Arafa”. On the day of Arafa traditional pastry: “kush-tili”, “bugirsok” – fancy pastry balls, “orama”, “chak-chak” – straws and nuts in sugar and others are prepared by every Uzbek family. In the evening every family cooks festive plov, which neighbors usually exchange with. Plov is served in kosa (big ceramic bowl) and decorated with baking on the top. Although Ramadan Hayit is a holiday, there is a rule to visit the cemeteries of relatives these days. Therefore, a few days before the holiday “mazar”s (cemeteries) are tidied up. This was always supervised by mahalla’s (residential quarters) residents local gathering. Each mahalla has its own area in mazar. Many local ancient traditions are intertwined with the religious ones; this becomes particularly prominent in the days of Ramadan Hayit and Kurban Hayit. Children enjoy the holidays most of all – there is a range of toys and sweets, which are produced and sold only in the days of Hayits: wooden and tin rattles, tin fifes and clay whistles, candy canes of various shapes and sweet big balls “bodirok” (popcorn) and variety of kazinaki (sunflower seeds, peanut and other varieties of seeds and nuts brittles). Ramadan Hayit lasts for three days. At this time people visit their old relatives and neighbors. Houses with “kelin” (newly wedded wife) expect guests; ‘kelin’ meets the guests, doing “kelin-salom” (ritual easy half-bow). Her head and face are covered with a translucent bride veil. These days in Uzbek “mahalla” you can see flocks of kids, mostly little girls who go from house to house in a crowd, admiring well-dressed newly married wives and are treated with sweets.

Teacher’s Day

Perhaps, we may say that in Uzbekistan this holiday goes beyond the professional day of a teacher. From time immemorial on the East people always paid a grave devoir to wise aged men, aksakals. Today we call them preceptors, mentors, teachers. This holiday is devoted to those who put their knowledge and skill in us, who helped with advice and life experience. In Uzbekistan the Teacher’s Day is celebrated the 1st of October and marked as a red-lettered day. Such events as festive performances, parody show, morning performances and concerts are held in schools and universities on the eve of the holiday… A lot of graduates arrange the meetings and greet their teachers on the 1st of October.

The New Year

The New Year’s Day for citizens of Uzbekistan is one of the most favorite and long-awaited holiday. As a rule, at these magic days everyone expects a heavy snowfall which is not always happened in this dry region. But if on the New Year’s Day everything is covered with flurry snow, you may consider that holiday is the most possible: with crispy snow, pine fragrance, spicy smell of aspic, stood on the frost, making snowman and sledging… This large international holiday comes into every family and of course is widely celebrated on national basis. The favorite of all kids and the symbol of the holiday, the green New-Year tree, appears on the main square of the capital, flashing with lights of garlands and balls. Young people gather here to hear the magical midnight striking of Tashkent chiming clock. And next days the square becomes the main center of public festivities. Especially kids enjoy, because here they are waiting for a Grandfather Frost and Snow Maiden, as well as many other characters of favorite books and cartoons. Another children’s entertainment center is a square near the city circus, where the plenty of rides, tents with toys and sweets are set, clowns and acrobats amuse kids. Leisure time for adults is not less interesting and various. At these days theaters show wonderful festive performances, cinemas, cafes, clubs and restaurants are crowded. Every public house tries to excel with its original show program: performances of pop stars, funny contests and raffles, and certainly an outstanding New-Year disco party.

Euroasia Travels

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