Customs and Traditions

Customs and Traditions of the Uzbek People

The main feature of the Uzbek family is traditionally reverential respect for elders. Uzbeks usually lives in large families consisting of several generations, therefore, preference is given to a large houses on the land. Significant place in family life as element of the hospitality is tea ceremony. Moreover, tea making and pouring it to the guests is exclusive prerogative of the host. It is common to receive invitations to a lunch or dinner and be on time. When planning a visit it is advisable to take souvenirs or sweets for children of the owner of the house. Hand shaking is usually only for the menfolk. Women and people sitting in the background, greeted by putting right hand to your heart, and accompanying this gesture with slight tilt of the head. During hand shaking it is common to ask about health, family, and state of affairs at work and at home. In rural areas in case of the guests, women usually do not sit at same table with the men in order not to interfere their conversation. It is not polite to admire the beauty of the women and pay close attention to them. When entering the living quarters shoes are taken off. Must take place indicated by the host. Moreover, the farther it is form the entrance the more honorable this place is.


Rites of Uzbek people have formed over the centuries as the result of a complex of merging cultural habits and traditions of all tribes and nations that participated in the in the ontogenesis of the Uzbeks. They are quite original, bright and varied, and go back to the tribal patriarch relations. A large number of ceremonies follows the family life and associated with the birth and upbringing of the child, weddings, and funerals. A special role is played by the rituals associated with the birth and upbringing of the children (beshik-Tuyi, khatna-kilish) wedding (fatiha-tui, wedding). Often they are combination of Islamic rituals with more ancient forms related to the mystical practices. With the adoption of Islam, many family and everyday customs have undergone its influence and Muslim religious ceremonies become usual in Uzbek life. Friday is a holiday that is celebrated in the cathedral mosque by public namaz (prayer). Patriarchal attitudes continue to exist in society, which is focused in the mosque, bazaar, tea house, and in which only man population participated.


Beshik-Tuyi (wooden cradle) a ritual celebration related to the first putting the baby in the cradle. This is one of the most ancient and widespread traditional ceremony in Uzbekistan. Typically such event is held on 7th, 9th and 11th day of the birth of the baby. In various regions ritual has its own differences and depends on the family’s income: the rich families usually celebrate this event extensively, and families with low income celebrate it modestly. Beshik (cradle) and necessary things for the baby are provided by the relatives of the baby. In dastarkhan (table-cloth) wrapped cakes, sweets and toys. Gifts are prepared for the baby’s parents and grandparents. Richly decorated beshik, dasturkhans and gifts are loaded into the viechle together with the guests to he sounds of carnay, surnay, and tambourine and drive to the baby’s parent house. Traditionally delivered beshik takes on his right shoulder baby’s grandfather, and then passes on the right shoulder of his son, who then delivers it to the baby’s mother. In past, in order that all intentions of the guests were clean and nice faced daubed with white flour. Guests are invited to the richly decorated dastarkhan (table) and while guests help themselves, listen to music and enjoy, in the next room in the presence of older woman is ceremony of swaddling and putting baby in beshik. At the end of ceremony, guests come to the baby to have a look on him, presents him gifts and roll in on beshik parvarda or sugar. At this point ceremony is over and guests go home…

Fatiha-tui (engagement)

The wedding takes place with the permission and blessing of parents and carried out in several stages. When son becomes an adult, parents start looking for suitable girl for him. In this process involved close relatives, neighbors, and friends. When they have found the girl, maternal aunt or father come to the girl’s house under any pretext, to look at her, to met her parents, and take a look on a home décor of potential bride. After that family and friends make inquiries about family of the chosen girl. In case of positive feedback the matchmakers are sent off. One of the main procedures in Brokage is “Fatiha-tui” (engagement or betrothal). Matchmakers designated day of wedding. On this day known in the district old people, chairman of Mahalla and girls are gathering in the bride’s house.  After intermediaries explain the purpose of their visit, the ceremony “non sindirish” (literally “to break the cake”) begins. From that moment the young people deemed engaged. “Fatiha tui” ends with the appointment of the wedding day. Each intermediary is given dasturkhon with two cakes, sweets, as well as presents form the girl to the groom and his parents. When intermidiaries returns to the groom’s house they bring trays of gifts and begin the riot of “sarpo curare” (examining of presents). Dastarkhan typically deployed by a woman with many children. All enjoys with the sweets and biscuits that were brought form the bride’s house. This ceremony completes the ritual of betrothal. Since the “Fatiha tui” and up to the wedding the parents resolve issues related to dowry and organizational issues related to the wedding ceremony. A few days before the wedding, fiancée invite her relatives and close friends to “Keyes mis” (Hen-party).


Wedding ceremony traditionally plays essential role Uzbeks life, and celebrates as an important event.  In the presence of common features this ceremony has its own characteristics different areas. The highlight of weeding cycle is the transition of the bride from her parents’ house to the groom’s house.  On the day of the wedding in the house of the bride arranged wedding pilaf, which is prepared in the house of the groom and then sent to the bride. The same palov ceremony serving in the house of the groom. On the wedding day the imam of the mosque reads “Hutbai Nikoh” (prayer for marriage), after which the young are declared husband and wife before God. Imam explains the rights and duties of husband and wife. Usually after the nikoh the young go to the registry office for registration of their civil marriage. On the day of the wedding at the bride’s groom wear sarpo (clothes and shoes, a gift for the wedding), after which the groom goes to the bride’s parents for the welcome. After the return of the groom, the bride arrives.

Morning pilaf

Ceremony of the morning pilaf held during the wedding (“Sunnat Tuyi” or marriage ceremony) and funeral (after 20 days and one year after the date of death). Organizers of the wedding prescribe date and time for the morning pilaf, beforehand agreeing with the mahalla community or quarterly committee. On this day are sent invitations to relatives, neighbors and friends. In the evening is held the rite of “Sabzi tugrar” – chopping carrots, which is usually visited by neighbors and close relatives. After the end of “Sabzi tugrar” all participants are invited to the table. Usually artists are invited on “Sabzi tugrar”. At the table during the feasting elders distribute duties among those who are present. Morning pilaf should be ready by the end of the Morning Prayer – “bomdod namozi” because the first guests should be its participant. By the end of the Morning Prayer sounds of carnay, surnay and tambourine announce the morning palov. Guests are seated at tables, and after reading the fotiha (wishes) scones and tea are served. Just then the pilaf in lagans (large dishes) – one for two is serving. After the meal lyagans removed, and guests once again make a fotiha and thanking the host, after that they leave. After they left, the tables quickly put in order to receive its new guests. Morning pilaf usually lasts no more than one and a half or two hours.


The most important national holiday is Independence Day, celebrated on September 1st. Every year on December 8 Constitution Day is celebrated to commemorate the adoption of the new Constitution of independent Uzbekistan in 1992. As in many other countries, 9 May is celebrated Memorial Day. Widely celebrated Holidays that associated with the end of fasting – Ramazan Khayit and Kurban Khayit. Kurban Khayit is one of the most important Muslim holidays. On this day, after rituals believers pay visits or receive guests at home, helping the sick, lonely, and show mercy to others. Lovely holiday “Ramadan Khayit” is a holiday of spiritual and moral purification. It begins at the end of 30 days of fasting, which according to Islamic law falls on the 9th month of the Muslim Hijri year. On this day traditionally people commemorate the dead, visit the sick, the elderly, engage in charity and other good works.


Ancient popular holiday Nowruz (“Nowruz bayrami”), celebrated on March 21, the day of vernal equinox. It is a celebration of nature awakening and beginning of planting, preserved in its rituals features of Zoroastrianism. In the agricultural oasis of ancient Uzbekistan were held every spring the big festivals, holiday bazaars. According to tradition, even today people bake “baursak” and prepare the ritual meal – sumalyak. After the celebrations usually begin field work, which in the past were also accompanied by the implementation of various rites before going into the field and horns of oxen and bulls neck smeared with oil.  After the celebrations usually begins field work, which in the past were also accompanied by the implementation of various rites, for example before going into the field horns and neck of oxen and bulls smeared with oil. The first furrow performed by the most respected and oldest member of the community. During the years of independence celebration of Nowruz has acquired a new dimension and depth. It became a national holiday of friendship, unity, brotherhood of all peoples. The colorful, theatrical performances reveal the philosophical and poetic reflection of Nowruz, its place in people’s stories.

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