Articles on Central Asia: Festivals and national events
Festivals of Central Asia are the reflection of the rich history of nomadic customs and traditions of the people.
Birds of prey festival, Kyrgyzstan. The festival is dedicated to golden eagles and falcons which are highly revered by Kyrgyz people. All through the ages hunters have been catching chicks of golden eagles and falcons for further treatment and train them to hunt for animals. In the past a single trained bird of prey could feed a small village. Therefore, golden eagles and falcons were highly valued and were considered as family members. This traditional event is held annually and attracts all fans of hunting. During this festival, experienced hunters demonstrate trained birds as well their skills to hunt hares, foxes and even wolfs. The owners do not lag behind their feathered helpers: they demonstrate horseback riding and bowing skills, so it still a kind of hunting competition between a bird and man. These events are held to contribute hunting traditional and nomadic lifestyle of Kyrgyz people. Today, hunters keep these birds for fun mainly and to carry traditions through generations. Festivals are usually accompanied by music of traditional instruments and dances to entertain visitors and guests.
The National Horse Games Festival is a colorful show that celebrates many vibrant aspects of Kyrgyz culture. Festival participants have an opportunity to experience traditional Kyrgyz lifestyle and enjoy competitive horse games. The event includes performances by the area’s finest musicians and offered some of the most delicious Kyrgyz meals. The Festival features traditional horse games, including “Ulak Tartysh”, “Kyz-Kuumai”, “Oodarysh”, “Tyiyin-Enmei” and others. During the event, women entrepreneurs organize an exhibition of local handicrafts. Participants of the festival have the opportunity to plunge into the traditional Kyrgyz lifestyle and watch the equestrian games.
The festival usually brings together people from all around the world from Colombia to Japan. The guests of the festival have an opportunity not only to observe how brave horsemen and women compete in their skills to control the horse, pull a rope and wrestle on yaks, but also participate in all games themselves. All guests and participants have a chance to evaluate the performances of the best musicians in the region, and also try the delicious Kyrgyz national dishes.
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