Lagman: The Noodles of the Silk Road

Lagman is a dish that is very common in Central Asia, China, and many Middle Eastern countries. It can also be found in Russia and the Caucasus and is a popular dish among the Crimean Tatars. The basic recipe, which combines noodles with meat, has hundreds of variations. In Uzbekistan, the dish tends be a […]

Navruz, Nooruz, Nowruz: The Ancient Spring New Year of Central Asia

Navruz 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 […]

World Nomad Games

The World Nomad Games is a unique international sporting event that celebrates the traditional sports and cultural heritage of the traditionally nomadic Turkic people. The World Nomad Games brings together athletes and spectators from around the world to participate in nomadic traditions through a festival of traditional sports, cultural events, and art exhibitions. The next […]

The Talking Kyrgyz Phrasebook

Below, you will find several useful phrases and words. To the left is the English and to the above right is an English transliteration of the Kyrgyz translation. Below the English transliteration is a Russian transliteration. In the center of each row is a play button that will play a recorded file of the English […]

Dwellings in Traditional Funeral and Burial Rituals of the Kyrgyz People (Using Yurts as an  Example)

Using historical and ethnographic studies from previous years, literary data, and his own field research conducted over several years’ time in different regions of Kyrgyzstan, the author explores the place and role of dwellings in traditional funeral and burial rituals of the Kyrgyz people. The yurt, a type of dwelling continually used by the formerly […]

International Women’s Day: Local Culture and Celebrations

International Women’s Day was first celebrated in St. Petersburg in 1913, declared by activists there and celebrated with rallies that demanded more rights. It did not become an official state holiday and day off, however, until 1965. In that year, March 8th was chosen as it marked the day when, in 1917, women again marched […]

Kok Boru: On Spectating and Playing a Dangerous Traditional Sport

As soon as I arrived in Bishkek, I started asking every person I met where I could find, watch, and play kok boru. I first learned about the sport in researching Kygyzstan before I arrived in Bishkek and was instantly fascinated by it. Kok boru is the wild national sport of Kyrgyzstan. It’s basically polo, […]

Kyrgyz Holidays 2023: 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 calendar to celebrate patriotism toward independent Kyrgyzstan and Kyrgyzstan’s long-held Muslim heritage. Thus, Soviet and federal as well […]

Kyrgyz Independence Day: Student Observations

Kyrgyz Independence Day is celebrated each year on August 31. It marks the date when, in 1991, Kyrgyzstan declared itself an independent republic and left the USSR. One of my fellow classmates at my university back in America, who had studied abroad a year prior, highly recommended attending Independence Day celebrations in Kyrgyzstan, noting that, […]

Kattama, Qatlama: Central Asia’s Swirled Buttery Pastry

Kattama is a traditional Turkic pastry. It is buttery, flaky, layered and fried or baked to perfection! The dough is rolled thin, slathered in butter and other filling, and then layered and folded, creating beautiful flaky layers that are both crisp and soft. It can be found throughout Mongol and Turkic cultures in various forms. […]

Chuchvara, Chuchpara, Tushpara: The Daintier Dumping of Central Asia

Chuchvara is a dumping staple dish in Central Asia, the South Caucasus, and the Middle East. Originally introduced there under the Persian Empire, they are today most associated in Central Asia with Uzbek tradition. However, they are also considered a local national dish throughout the countries of the region. Chuchvara contrast with manti, the other […]

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 and are now thought to perhaps be the world’s first dumpling. How Manti Got Their Name (Почему они […]

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