Buzkashi in Navruz

Uzbekistan is famous for its numerous exultancies, holidays, and other ceremonies. The most exciting and palpitating is certainly kupkari. The name can betranslated as “business of many”.

While Spain stands for corrida, Great Britain - for polo, then Central Asia, and especially Uzbekistan is for the engrossing kupkari.

Kupkari is counted to be a traditional game for the bravest males. Deep history of it makes it hot topic at current time. The point of the game is to catch a goat carcass and deliver it till the finish border as soon as possible. One can have a astonishing success due to his smartness, powerfulness, braveness and skills being on a horse.

Horses are selected very carefully to be on a game since the toughest are able to participate in contests like this. Basically those are Arabian, Akhal-Teke, and Orlov trotter breeds are capable. It came to be that the event happens right before the main national holiday of all Central Asian countries – Navruz. This day inhabitants go out to the endless fields where sun is shining, nature is gorgeous and one gets an impression of extremely happiness of it. However kupkari may happen during the weddings or child birth. Basically the one who organizes the kupkiari is a well known man. In case with a child birth that might be dad or grandpa of the child.

Prize is a significant part of a kupkari since it makes the competition in the game even stronger and gives its participants more motivation. The prize itself and its presenting conditions are set up the organizer of the game.

Currently the game rights a significant meaning in the lives of Uzbeks and other central asian nations. As statistics shows us today we have a whole international federation of kupkari, which members are counted to be more than 30 countries including China, Turkey, France, Pakistan and etc. They set the rules up, can modify them and do some other changes.

Those who has not ever been in such kind of games gets a great impression of enjoyment, and also get a very unique experience which is special in Central asia only. This equestrian competition will not leave you indifferent as it demonstrates the incredible stamina, more agility and enormous power of the riders and horses, and at the same time is a measure of hospitality, friendliness, honesty and good desirability of the Uzbek people.

The oldest festival Navruz (“Navruz bayrami”) is celebrated on March 21, at the time of the vernal equinox.

Navruz (New-Ruz, Naw-Ruz) - Spring Festival, or the New Year. The word ‘Nauruz’ consists of two Persian words ‘nau‘(new) and ‘ruz’ (day) - the first day of the initial important festival of the Aryans. It is celebrated during the last several millenniums. The meaning of this holiday is that exactly on the vernal solstice, when the length of day and night is 12 hours, the interaction of nature and man achieves perfect harmony: a period of awakening and renewal. Navruz is the beginning of a new year and is a tradition based on the relationship between man and nature.

Navruz generally is something more than just a holiday. During many centuries of Navruz celebration there is belief that nature will be more generously with people when the holiday will be brightly and happily celebrated. Therefore, on this day people sing ritual songs of Navruz, dancing and having fun, enjoy the coming of spring, give each other gifts, and help the orphans and the destitute. Nature begins to come alive in these days: the trees bloom, people wake up and take off their grey winter coats, greenery appears everywhere and people start cooking dishes made of herbs.

Here's how Greek chronicler Strabo was described the celebration of Navruz: ‘From the most ancient times and to the present day inhabitants of Mesopotamia are gathering together on that day in the Temple of Fire; and this day is the most honored holiday, when traders close their shops, artisans stop working. Everyone have a good time, treat each other drinks and foods, which touched on a fire’. 

From the ancient times fertile oasis of Uzbekistan on Navruz festivities was celebrating the holiday with organization of street festivities, big bazaars, horse racing, dog and cock fights. But the general holiday custom is "sumalak" - a New Year’s dish cooked in wood-fire and made of flour and germinated wheat grains, sometimes with spices. Sprouted grains are a symbol of life, warmth, abundance and health. This celebration is festive of awakening of nature and start of sowing works, preserved in its ritual features of Zoroastrianism.sumalak2

It is considered that Sumalak needs to be cooked with songs and humorous, fun melodies, and telling funny stories and various legends.

It is needed to throw a few pebbles and walnuts into the cauldron due to avoid Sumalak burning.

When legendary dish is ready it’s became sweet, although there is no a single gram of sugar put on it.

And if someone finds a nut or a pebble in his/her dish, this means that all his/her sincere desire will come true.

Furthermore Khalis festive dish is used to be cooked too for the holiday. Khalis - it is some mix of meat and wheat, cooked in a cauldron during all night, until it turns to cooked cereal. After cooling, the dish is served to the table.

It’s needed to prepare sprouted wheat, halva, “bichaki” (traditional cakes) with spinach, samsa, raisins, dried apricots and other sweets for the festive table. According to tradition, it is needed to congratulate the parents first; then - other members of family, and all together they go then to the square where the festivities are organized due to greet friends, relatives and neighbors. It is needed on holiday to forgive and apologize to those who have been offended.

The most popular event of the day is ‘kupkari’ (another name is ’ulok’) - the game which is rather like polo, but with using a goat carcass instead of a ball. This is not a game of aristocrats, but just a game of skilful horsemen. It is also provided a prize for the winner.

Navruz is celebrated in all parts of Uzbekistan and it is an official holiday.

Navruz - means "new day", "New World" - New Year.

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