Culture of Uzbekistan


According to, the Uzbek ethnic group is one of the most ancient and colorful on the planet, and the most numerous in Central Asia. The lands in the upper reaches of the Amu Darya, Syr Darya and in the foothills of the Tien Shan have always differed in their ethno-cultural component from other regions of Central Asia. Local residents already in the IV century BC. e. moved from a nomadic to a settled way of life, therefore, at the dawn of civilization, an original cultural and social structure was formed here, which changed little from the time of Darius and Alexander until the 19th century. Even the era of the Great Migration of Peoples and the Turkic-Mongolian invasion could not break the unshakable foundations of local life. Only with the advent of Islam, certain aspects of Uzbek culture underwent certain changes, however, even it organically merged into the local culture rather than subjugated it. Recently, the clothes of Uzbeks have undergone strong changes under the influence of European culture, so everywhere you can meet people dressed in the latest fashion. However, the famous Uzbek embroideries and embroidered clothes, metalwork and precious stones, traditional headdresses and carpets are still much more popular than European innovations. In a large Uzbek family, usually consisting of several generations of relatives living together, there is a strict hierarchy. Relations in the home are built on the basis of unconditional submission to the head of the family and respect for elders. A woman in a local family occupies a dual position – on the one hand, she is the mother and wife of the head of the family, on the other, she is a subordinate and a husband and his father (or mother). Moreover, there is no discrimination here – this is an age-old tradition, based on the experience of living in difficult local conditions. Marriage age for a girl was previously considered 13-14 years old, today quite European norms prevail here, although cases of early marriage are not uncommon.

Children are also universally loved. Islam plays an important role in the social and family life of Uzbeks. Religion has determined and continues to determine everyday, family and ideological aspects of life, has a strong influence on political processes and art, on the whole way of life. A Muslim must five times a day at a certain time turn to God (“prayer”), during the month of Ramadan (Ramadan) observe a strict fast during the daytime, do not drink, do not smoke or eat food before sunset. From his income, a Muslim must voluntarily deduct part of the money (“zakat”) in favor of the poor or for charitable deeds. It should mark the days of Muslim holidays and especially the Feast of Sacrifice (Kurban). But in the local tradition there are also some differences from the canons of Islam – the obligatory “hajj” (pilgrimage to Mecca) for the believer can replace visiting “holy places” (“mazars”). A special role is played by rituals associated with the birth and upbringing of children (“beshik-tuyi”, “hatna-kilish”), marriage (“fatiha-tui” – engagement), wedding (“sunnat-tui”), cooking (“sabzi -tugrar”) and so on. Often they represent an interweaving of Islamic ritualism with more ancient forms associated with magical practice. Cult ministers are especially respected here and participate in almost all the events of the country. Friday is considered a public holiday which is celebrated in the cathedral mosque with a common prayer (prayer). And at the same time, Uzbeks cannot be called fanatical Muslims – for all the versatility of local life, there is always a lot of secularism in it, and the religious tolerance of local residents is widely known outside the country. One of the traditional forms of social structure in Uzbekistan is the “mahalla” – a neighborhood community, which is a vast community of close neighbors and relatives, usually uniting the entire settlement with mutual assistance (“hashar”), with its own mosque, local self-government, traditions and culture. The importance of “mahalla” is so great that it is recognized as the most important part of the country’s local self-government. One of the unshakable traditions of local life is hospitality. The ability to receive a guest is valued in Uzbek society much higher than the wealth of the table itself or the prosperity of the family. It is not customary to refuse an invitation to lunch or dinner; punctuality is a very important aspect for a guest. Going to visit, it is advisable to take small souvenirs or sweets for children with you. The hosts meet distinguished guests at the gate, greet them, take an interest in business and life, and invite them to come into the house. Guests are usually received in a spacious central room, or invited to go into the courtyard – the local climate allows for feasting in the courtyard for almost eight months a year.

Shoes must be removed upon entering the premises. The table (“dastarkhan”) is usually laid in the center of the room or, in the case of a courtyard, under trees or in another shady place. The guest must follow the instructions of the host, however, there is usually an eternal confrontation – the owner also wants to please the guest! And in this case, humor and a polite attitude towards all participants in this, rather theatrical, process are highly valued. However, it should be remembered that places far from the entrance or gate are considered the most honorable. Women usually do not sit at the same table with men, but in urban areas this rule often does not apply. At the table, it is not customary to admire the beauty of women and pay close attention to them. But to take an interest in the affairs of the family and the well-being of its members is quite appropriate. Any meal here begins and ends with tea drinking. At first, sweets, pastries, dried fruits and nuts, fruits and vegetables are served on the table, then there are snacks, and only at the end – the obligatory pilaf and other “heavy food”. Local pilaf is very satisfying and prepared according to a rather complicated recipe, so it is not recommended to lean on it right away. The abundance of fat in food also does not contribute to digestion, so it is recommended to drink as much green tea as possible (which, in general, Uzbeks have been doing since time immemorial). Be sure to have hot cakes on the table, which in no case should be turned over. Dropping a piece of bread on the ground, or even just putting it there, even wrapped in cloth or paper, is also considered bad luck. Chaikhona (teahouse) is the same unshakable element of local traditions as tea itself. Public life here is concentrated in mosques, in the bazaar and, of course, in the teahouse. Here they simply communicate and negotiate, relax and share news, have breakfast and lunch, discuss the problems of life and the world order. They usually choose a place for a teahouse somewhere in the shade of trees and closer to the water, which, along with tea, should give the conversation peace and non-fussiness. The decor of the tea house is quite traditional – low tables are surrounded by the same low and necessarily covered carpets and sofas. Somewhere in the corner, the owner or servants are bustling about, and the main place is occupied, as one would expect, by the hearth over which water is boiled or food is cooked, and the teapots themselves. The rituals accompanying tea drinking are quite complex and incomprehensible to the uninitiated, so it is easier to observe the locals and do as they do – you can be sure that they will also appreciate such a respectful attitude towards their customs. Despite strong Islamic traditions, most Uzbeks drink alcohol freely, at least with guests. If you do not drink strong alcoholic beverages, mainly vodka, warn about it in advance, no one will impose anything here. During Ramadan, it is not recommended to drink alcoholic beverages, at least openly. When entering a house or a teahouse, you should take off your shoes. The style of clothing is quite democratic, however, when visiting places of worship, you should not wear too open or short clothes. Despite everything, it is not recommended to wear shorts, especially in rural areas.


  • January 1 – New Year
  • January – Eid al-Adha (date floating)
  • January 14 – Day of Defenders of the Motherland
  • March 8 – International Women’s Day
  • March 21 – Navruz (Novruz, Nokroch – Islamic New Year). The celebration of the New Year continues throughout the month of “fravardin” (“hamal”)
  • March-April – Prophet’s Birthday (date floating)
  • May 1 – Labor Day
  • May 9 – Day of memory and honor (former Victory Day)
  • September 1 – Independence Day
  • October 1 – Day of teachers and mentors
  • October-November – Ramadan Bayram (end of Ramadan)
  • November 18 – Flag Day
  • December 8 – Constitution Day

Culture of Uzbekistan

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