Festivals

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Each nation has its own festivals; they reflect the history and customs of nations. Kyrgyzstan has a rich history, nomadic traditions, which found their continuation in the festivals held by the Kyrgyz people. This is a celebration of centuries of culture with traditional sports competitions, various fairs and shows.

Nowadays Kyrgyz festivals are the best way to preserve ancient traditions, holidays that are visited not only by native people, but also by guests from all over the world. The most popular festivals are festivals dedicated to birds of prey hunting, horse games, cuisine, felt production, various crafts. Many Kyrgyz festivals are held on summer pastures (jailoo), where whole yurt camps are set up.

Festivals in Kyrgyzstan are one of the best events where you can observe the traditions and customs of the Kyrgyz people.

In summer one can visit two festivals of horse games, one of them is held in Kyzyl-Oi, the second by Son-Kul lake. Let’s look at the most popular games that can be seen at the festival.

Horses have always played a big role in the everyday life of the Kyrgyz people. Nomadic life in steppes and mountains can not be imagined without the horses. Horses were friends of people, means of transport, faithful helpers during the war, payment for services, a source of food. Some children knew how to ride before taking their first independent steps; riders and horses spared all their strengths during long exhausting trainings. Almost every Kyrgyz knows how to ride a horse. A variety of horse games, which have been passed down for generations, provides an excellent opportunity to show one’s rider skills, agility and reaction. Let us look in details most popular horse games.

Ulak Tartysh is an ancient popular horse sport game among the Kyrgyz people and other peoples of Asia. Ulak Tartysh is a symbiosis of racing and games. The riders are fighting for the goat – it is necessary to grab the goat, hold it and then throw the opponent’s teams “taikazan” (gate).

At-Chabysh is a very ancient and popular sport among the Kyrgyz people. The birth of At-Chabysh was connected with the necessity to prepare the horses for various passages from one place to another and other reasons connected with the life of the Kyrgyz as a nomadic people. At-Chabysh are long-distance races, a fascinating competition in which races of up to 100 km are arranged, and often for agility the reiders are  the 12-15 years old boys, and sometimes saddles are removed to increase speed.

Kurosh is a fight on horseback,  in which riders must throw off the opponent using grabs and jerks.

  • Oodarysh is a fight on horseback that requires good physical strength and dexterity, combined with the ability to control a horse. This is an old popular competition among the Kyrgyz people. It is necessary to throw the opponent handless. One can win only controlling the horse very well, that will push the rider, possibly even with his horse.
  • Kyz Kuumai is a beautiful performance that can hardly be called a game. The rider must catch up with the rider girl, and the reward for him will be the kiss of the beauty. In the past, Kyz Kuumai was part of the wedding ceremony. Now it has lost this meaning.
  • Tyiyn Enmey – a game where the rider tries to pick up coins from the ground at full gallop.