• Custom and Traditions


    Custom and traditions

    The Uzbek people have an interesting rich cultural heritage from the merging of centuries old and modem civilizations. Places such as Khoresm, Chach, Sogd, Ustrushan, Margian are considered to be historical. Although most of the Uzbeks are Moslems, their attitudes toward the various religions like Buddhism, Christianity and Judaism are that of respect.At present, Islam is considered to be the religious faith of the Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Turkmen, Tadjiks.

    Hospitality – the part of Uzbek culture

    The best tradition of Uzbekistan is its hospitality. Everyone , irregardless of position is always treated as if he was sent by God. Even the poor are always trying to supply travelers with whatever they can offer and their only demand as payment for their hospitality is that the traveler relates his stories to them. Curiosity is another feature of the Uzbeks. They like to communicate with others and interact between themselves. They like meeting people and hope that by treating their guests warmly the gesture will be reciprocated.
    The days of the caravans are history but the Central Asian Art of hospitality and the ancient customs around the table are very much alive. In the last 100 years, more European menu items have been added to a meal, yet the traditions formed during the bustling days of The Great Silk Road still apply and creating bonds, forging friendships through culinary occasions, is still the essence of Central Asian Hospitality and its friendly and peaceful people. Besides, Uzbeks are a curious nation who like meeting people and they are always happy to guests of different nationalities.

    Tea ceremony

    Uzbekistan is well known for its chaikhanas (teahouses), where men get together and spend time chatting and joking over a cup of tea. It is part of the culture that women take care of the house, including cooking. Uzbek men have good cooking skills and chaikhana is the place where they get together and cook pilaw (rice with meat and vegetables) or kazan kabob (fried meat with potatoes).
    Tea is served from ceramic pots into small pjala bowls. The precious liquid is poured into the clean pjala of the host and poured back into the chainik (teapot) - this is repeated three times. The fourth time round, a half filled cup is offered in the guest's own pjala, allowing for the tea to cool down rapidly so as to quench ones thirst immediately. A bowl filled to the brim goes against all standards of hospitality and good form. Tea is served with homemade jam or honey, which substitutes as sweetener.

    Banquet and Etiquette

    Tradition demands that the table in covered with food at all times. When quests arrive, all cold food items are on the table, served on small plates, namely the zakuski, the salads, cakes and cookies and a fruit arrangement in the center. Only completely empty serving plates are cleared. Guest plates are exchanged after every course.

    The handshake

    Men will always shake hands with other men. Even if you are not introduced to everyone, a simple handshake substitutes a formal introduction. A woman visitor may not be receiving a handshake unless she herself stretches out her hand. For the woman traveler, do not feel offended that you do not receive the same attention as the males in your group. As odd as it may seem to us in the West, it is only out of respect that you are not included in the hand-shaking ritual. Women will often greet you with a big hug, definitely with a handshake. For the winter traveler gloves should be removed when shaking hands.

    The kiss on the cheek

    Close friends or family members of the same sex will often greet each other with a more vibrant display of affection than a simple handshake. Kissing is the most common greeting seen among people of the region, and depending on where you are traveling, this is most often done two or three times on alternating cheeks. However, when a pair is exceptionally happy to see each other, or when one is showing a deep respect for the other, the exchange will most definitely continue past the requisite two- or three-kiss norm. As a sign of respect, elders will often receive a kiss from their less mature counterparts, whether acquainted or not.

    The respecting bow

    One of the most beautiful features of Central Asian culture is found within one simple little gesture, this respecting bow. Often accompanying the handshake, men will place their left hand over their hearts and offer a slight, almost indiscernible, bow to their counterpart in a gesture of deep respect. This subtle bow or slight inclination of the head is also displayed in a variety of other exchanges among people. However, when not shaking hands, it is the right hand that is placed on the chest. You will most definitely encounter this when someone is offering thanks, saying goodbye or parting ways, or even when a younger man passes an elder in the street and wants to show his respect.

    Bazaar

    The Bazaar is a place of communication apart from its primary sense of buying and selling. The best part of the bazaar is the bargaining. People love to bargain. If you visit Uzbekistan you should surely go to a bazaar and try your self to bargain. Its noisiness, variety, bright colors, hustle and bustle will leave unforgettable memories for good.

    Clothing needed during the travel:

    Light colored cotton clothes are the best for summer time. Trousers, long skirts and long sleeved shirts of conservative type prevent sunburn and respect Muslim sensibilities though in the city centers not many people pay attention to this question, but it is a must cover flesh when visiting any holy site.

    In the cities open sandals and plimsolls are good for walking while shoes and sneakers are best for exploring ancient sites and monuments.

    In colder weather jackets or light sweaters are good in the evenings and in the desert be ready for nightly temperature drops.