Eagle Training in Kyrgyzstan: Witnessing a Tradition

SRAS students studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on the Central Asian Studies Porgram often have the opportunity to visit Lake Issyk-Kul as part of their program abroad. This semester, the local excursions into the surrounding mountains included a presentation on local traditions surrounding eagle training. Golden eagles have been used for hunting in Kyrgyzstan for […]

Nowruz: A Spring New Year of Modern National Pride

Nowruz is a spring solstice celebration that marks the beginning of the New Year according to the traditional Persian calendar. It has been a beloved holiday for some 3,000 years, surviving cultural change caused by centuries of tumultuous history. It is now celebrated on the set date of March 21st. The holiday has long been […]

Baursak: The Donut of Hospitality

Throughout much of Central Asia, one type of bread stands out from all the rest – baursak (баурсак). These small pieces of fried dough are known throughout Central Asia among many of the Turkic and Mongolian-speaking peoples there. In Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan especially, they are served as everyday fare accompanied by tea and are staple […]

Beshbarmak: The Rich, Meaty Pasta from Central Asia

Beshbarmak (Бешбармак) is a dish enjoyed throughout Central Asia as well as regions of Russia and China. It consists of boiled meat served on a bed of thick, flat noodles and covered in an onion sauce called tuzdyk (туздык). A meal both hearty and delicious, beshbarmak is particularly popular in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan where it holds […]

Kyrgyz Holidays 2021: A Complete Guide

Kyrgyz holidays include many inherited from the USSR (although most of those have changed their form at least slightly). Kyrgyz holidays also include many adopted from Russian culture. However, many holidays have now been added to the callendar to celebrate patriotism toward independent Kyrgyzstan and Kyrgyzstan’s long-held Muslim heritage. Thus, Soviet and federal as well […]

Horse Trekking in Kyrgyzstan – Student Observations

While Bishkek is a modern, dynamic and constantly evolving city, it still provides an opportunity to tap into the ancient nomadic traditions of the Kyrgyz people. One of those traditions, horseback traveling, is becoming increasingly popular with SRAS students – and surely for a good reason. Practicing Russian and Kyrgyz while learning about local culture […]

Manti, Pozi, Bauzi: More Than Just Another Dumpling

Manti (манты) are steamed dumplings consisting of ground meat and spices in an unleavened pastry shell. Manti are a popular dish across Central Asia, Pakistan, Northern China, Turkey, and Russia. They are considered native to Central Asia, but are also thought to have descended from a still-older Chinese dish. How Manti Got Their Name (Почему […]

Kyrgyz on Kyrgyzstan

What defines being Kyrgyz? Defining something as broad as a nationality or ethnicity is always complicated. I decided to get a view specifically from young Kyrgyz women and interviewed Bigemai, 27 and Aiza, 22 for their thoughts. Bigemai grew up in Bishkek, the oldest of four siblings. She works professionally as a hairdresser and volunteers […]

New Year’s Eve: Student Observations

The New Year is, without doubt, the most important holiday on the Russian calendar. It equates if not outstrips the importance of Christmas in America, if to compare the two holidays in the two cultures. New Year in Russia is a time to be together with family and friends, for gift giving, major consumer spending, […]

Beshbarmak, Borsok, and Eggplant Salad

Less than a hundred years ago, the Kyrgyz were almost entirely nomadic. Though most Kyrgyz live in villages today, their traditional dishes still reflect their nomadic past. Meat is considered to be the most important food, and an integral part of any good meal. When important guests come to visit, the Kyrgyz will still slaughter […]

Oromo: Kyrgyz Food with Vegetarian Options

For those obsessed with all things pumpkin — pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice-cream, pumpkin-spice lattes — oromo (оромо) is sure to please. Oromo is a rolled, layered, steamed pastry that comes with various fillings (pumpkin being common and our favorite). It evokes everything we love about pumpkin season back home in the States. This main dish […]

Thanksgiving Dinner in Bishkek

Thanksgiving might be the most difficult holiday to miss as an American abroad. As far as Christmas and New Year’s go there’s a good chance you may get to go home in December to experience familiar holiday cheer. Or it’s likely that your host-country can provide a less-familiar, albeit still pleasant, Christmas and New Year […]

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