National Games

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From ancient times the Kyrgyz devoted great attention to national games and entertainments without which none of holidays was held. At the same time, the nature of many games was associated with the conditions of nomadic life, which required constant readiness to actions full of courage, strength and agility. The national horse games was and remains the most favorite and honorable once.

At-Chabysh (Long Distance Racing) – horse racing at a distance of 100 km. Now according to the rules, horses of any breeds, at the age from three and above with the rider older than 13 years old are allowed to take part in races. 

Jorgo-Salysh (Running of the Amblers) – a twice increased gait, when the horse’s legs are raised and lowered to the ground in pairs. Thus, it is demonstrated not only the horse’s speed and endurance, but also amazingly fluent and accurate running.

Ulak-Tartysh or Kok-Boru (Fight of riders for a goat’s flesh) is a game between two teams. The spotsground is 200-400 meters long; in the center, there is a circle (mara) in which the goat’s headless flesh with extremities cut off on wrists is put. The goat usually weighing up to 30 kg. One match lasts 15 minutes. The winner is a team, which throws the goat into the rival’s gate more times.

Oodarysh (The Battle of Two Riders) – two riders try to knock each other off the horse without the help of hands. The fight lasts 10 minutes. If a rider knocks a rival alone or with his horse (the latter must touch the ground by any part of his body), he becomes the winner.

Tyiyn enmei (Reaching the coin from the ground) – a rider tries to pick up coins from the ground at full hallop without falling off the horse. The total length of the distance from the starting position to the finish is no more than 100 meters. The winner is a rider who takes the greatest amount of coins.

tradition in kyrgyzstan

Kyz Kuumai (Catch a girl) – this game was previously a wedding custom, in which the groom had to catch up with the bride. According to the rules of the game, a bride is given the best horse, she was the first to start the race and was given a handicap on a distance (lessening of a distance for weaker competitors), the fiancée must reach the bride, thus, he proves not only his love to her, but he is entitled to marry her.                

Kyz Jarysh or Kelin Jarysh (Girl’s and Young married woman’s race) – riders, firmly sitting in the saddle, must overcome the distance of 2-4 km skillfully managing the horse. 

Jamby Atmai (Shooting the target from the horse on speed) 

Jamby is an ingot of silver or other precious stones threaded and hung on an inclined pole rooted into the ground as a prize. According to the rules of the game competitor must shoot the thread with the help of bows and knock the pole down from the horse on speed. 

Kuresh (Wrestling) – wrestlers (from16 years and higher) enter the circle, come up to each other and hold each other’s belts. After the referee’s signal the fight begins. It is allowed to use different grips, but they must not take their hands off each other’s belts the winner is a wrestler who throws the rival. The duration of the battle of youth is 4 minutes and for adults 6 minutes.

Alty Bakan Selkinchek (Rocking on swing) – a popular game among the youth. Swinging was constructed on trees or from poles (bakans). A couple rolled the swings. The rest of the young people was divided into two and then compete in singing with each other.                                                                                                                                                                                              

Upai is a traditional game with bones made of sheep’s knee joints (chuko). Players play in two teams of 2, 4 or more members. The number of chukos (bones) may vary from 13-37 or more, but it is necessary that the general number of them must be divided into 3 plus 1 without any remainder. Each 3 chukos compose a set called “upai” or “basym”. The goal of the game is to gather the greatest amount of upais (a set of 3 bones).

bird festival in kyrgyzstan

Hunting with a Golden Eagle or Falcon (Berkutchi) – hunting on foxes, hares or even wolves is also an ancient national art. In order to train these wild birds of prey to serve a man or a trainer, he must know their character, habits and abilities of these hunting birds.

Every year there is a festival of national games. This festival helps to preserve national culture and traditions. Nomad Lodge invites you on an exciting journey into the world of nomadic culture, to visit the country, take part in the festival, taste the national cuisine, get acquainted with the national games and culture of the Kyrgyz people.