The traditions of Uzbekistan are flavoured with holidays and festive dinners. Here are the most important religious and state holidays of Uzbekistan as well as memorial dates that are part of the history and culture of the nation.
New Year in Uzbekistan, 1st of January
New Year is one of the most favourite holidays in Uzbekistan. Everyone is waiting for heavy snow on New Year’s eve. Unfortunately, snow is a rear thing in the region and if it snows on holiday, it becomes twice festive and happy day.
Just like other nations, Uzbek people celebrate New Year with Christmas tree in the houses and central squares of the cities, decorate the city with festive lights and buy presents. The central square of Tashkent becomes the centre of festive events.
Day of defenders of Motherland, 14th of January
The Day of defenders of Motherland is a favourite holiday for Uzbek men. This is the day to honour men who defend their family and Motherland. On the 14th January 1992, the Armed Forces of Uzbekistan were established. One year later this day was announced as the Day of defenders of Motherland.
This is a popular and beloved state holiday celebrated in whole Uzbekistan. The army marches on the central square of Tashkent and line up to celebrate and accept awards from the president.
International Women’s day, 8th of March
Uzbekistan celebrates international women’s day just like in other countries around the world. It already springs in Uzbekistan with nature waking up from long winter and trees in blossom. As a tradition women accept congratulations and presents.
Navruz in Uzbekistan, 21st of March
Navruz is one of the most important holidays in Uzbekistan. Translated from Farsi, Navruz means “the new day”. 21st of March is the day of the vernal equinox and the holiday celebrates the beginning of the year.
Navruz was celebrated in Khorasan (province of Ancient Persia) more than three thousand years ago and by the time it started to be celebrated in Central Asia as well. A traditional dish of Navruz is sumalak. It is made of germinated wheat. Women gather around the pot and cook sumalak the whole night singing traditional songs. When the dish is ready in the morning it is shared with neighbours and relatives.
Memory and Honor day, 9th of May
The countries participating in the Great Patriotic War celebrate the memory and honour day on the 9th of May. Uzbekistan also took part in the war and thousands of Uzbek families lost their beloved ones.
Festive concerts are organized on the central Independence Square of Tashkent. The Alley of Fame and Memory is full of flowers on this day. It is used to celebrate the veterans for the victory.
Independence Day, 1st of September
On the 1st of September Uzbekistan celebrates Independence Day. It is the most important state holiday in the country and everyone celebrates it. As a tradition, all the 12 regions of Uzbekistan get ready for the holiday and present their own festive programs.
The festive show is the most important part of the holiday. The capital gets ready for the Independence day weeks before the day. The festive concert takes part in the central Independence Square. The day ends with a festive firework.
Teacher's Day, 1st of October
Teacher’s day is a very special holiday in Uzbekistan. Nations of Middle Asia used to honour mentors and teachers for centuries and today 1st of October has become the state holiday in Uzbekistan. Students called teachers “Domlo”, “Ustoz” and “Muallim” to honour teachers who passed not only knowledge but also helped to learn to respect people and to love Motherland.
Constitution Day, 8th of December
On the 8th of December, Uzbekistan adopted a constitution and this day is now celebrated as the Constitution day. It is an important state holiday that is celebrated in the whole country.
Ramadan Hayit is a day of moral and spiritual purification. The holiday starts after the Islamic fasting Ruza that lasts for 30 days. It is the fasting to purify the soul. According to fasting month, Ruza or Ramadan from sunrise to sunset Muslims are not allowed to eat and drink, they treat politely and avoid bad thoughts.
All religious holidays start with morning prayer Hayit-namaz. Ramadan Hayit lasts for three days. In Uzbekistan, religious holidays are declared public holidays and the whole country celebrates Ramadan. Arafa is the day before the holiday. On Arafa, Uzbek families prepare traditional dishes kush-tili, Orama, chak-chak, bugirsok and nuts in sugar.
As a tradition on the day of a religious holiday Uzbek families visit a cemetery to honour relatives. Mazars (cemeteries) are tidied up before the holiday. After visiting the cemetery it is used to visit friends and relatives. The house where there are newlyweds, kelin (wife) wears a veil to cover her head and face.
Kurban Hayit is one of the most important holidays in Islam. It is the day of the unity of Muslims, the day of mercy and kindness. It is celebrated 70 days after Ramadan Hayit and the holiday marks the end of the Hajj. Arafa, the day before the celebration, is the day when Muslims get ready for the holiday. In Uzbekistan, every family prepares traditional dishes like chak-chak, kush-tili, bugirsok and nuts for Kurban Hayit. Traditional pilaf is prepared in the evening of Arafa.
According to tradition, men go to the mosque for the morning prayer Hayit-namaz. Then they sacrifice a sheep. The meat is divided into three parts: the one for those in need, the one for neighbors and friends and the last part for the family. As part of Kurban Hayit, Uzbeks visit the cemetery a few days before the holiday and clean the graves. Kurban Hayit is celebrated for three days. Uzbeks visit relatives and friends. In the families where there are newlyweds, the wedded wife covers her head and face with a veil.
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