Nowruz in Kyrgyzstan: Celebrating New Year’s once again
It’s one of the most important holidays in Kyrgyzstan. Nowruz, which translates literally as the “new day” is celebrated every year in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia and other countries on March 21st. Nowruz marks the beginning of the spring and is a moment of family and village reunion. Attending a Nowruz celebration is an original way to get to know Kyrgyz culture and spend an unforgettable time in Kyrgyzstan.
Traditions during Nowruz
In Kyrgyzstan, Nowruz is a public holiday that is celebrated with a lot of attention and festivities. Cities and villages organize big events for the occasion. These include concerts of traditional Komuz players, national dances, as well as nomad games. You’ll be able to see, for example, a game of traditional wrestling, or the famous Kok Boru (buzkachi), a horse game played with a sheep or goat.
During Nowruz, the Kyrgyz bake somolok, a wheat soup. Traditionally, it was baked for 24 hours before Nowruz in huge pots in the streets. Women of the village would relay each other to toil the soup. Some Kyrgyz also throw rocks in the soup to make wishes.
Kyrgyz tables are filled with all kinds of delicious traditional Kyrgyz dishes, including fried bread, borsok, plov or beshmark. Nowruz is also a time for contests, and Central Asian states like to cook huge portions of their traditional dishes and try to make it on the Guinness Book of Records.
Attending Nowruz celebrations
Nowruz is a great time to plan your trip in Kyrgyzstan. It’s out of the touristic season and is a perfect moment to discover Kyrgyz culture and traditions. In Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Kok-Boru competitions are held in the main stadium. The main square Ala-Too comes alive with shows during most of the day. In villages, you’ll be able to learn how to cook traditional Kyrgyz dishes with your hosts and celebrate Nowruz with a local family, to live the holiday at its fullest.