The popular festivals of Uzbekistan are as original and unique as the culture of this country. The traditions are very old and they are a union, which occurred over the centuries, of the customs and rites of all the ethical groups which have brought about the country's contemporary society. Uzbekistan can be considered as one of the most unique cultures of the East.
Day of the defenders of the native land (January 14)
This day commemorates the formation of the armed forces of the country. It took place on 14th January 1992 under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Women's Day (8th March)
This holiday is international and has also arrived in Uzbekistan. It is also known as "Mother's Day" and, as it coincides with the first days of spring, flowers are the most common gift. Men treat their wives, mothers and daughters to flowers or other presents.
Navruz (21st March)
Navruz means "new day" and is the new year for Uzbeks. It is a very old national holiday which coincides with the spring equinox, on the exact day in which the night and the day have the same duration. Families gather and prepare typical foods of Uzbek cuisine. For years it was one of the events in Uzbekistan which fell into oblivion and was recovered after the independence of the country. It is one of the most peculiar popular festivals in Uzbekistan.
Day of memory and honour (9th May)
On 9th May 1999, in Tashkent, the capital of the country, a monument to honour the memory of all those who fought for the freedom and independence of the Uzbeks was inaugurated. Some of the most recognised and admired heroes are Shiroq, Tumaris, Spitamen, Jaloliddin Maguberdi, Najmiddin Kubro, Namoz-batir, Behbudi, Kadiri, Munavar-kori, Avloniy, Chulpon, Fitrat and Usman Nosir.
In spring there are many celebrations which are typical of each province or smaller towns. One of the most popular festivals in Uzbekistan for their culture is the Boysun Bahori. It is celebrated in the Surkhandarya province, specifically in Boysun, a very mountainous region. It is a very old festival which took place before the times of Islam. During this festival, songs are sung, costumes are worn, dance shows are performed, storytellers and other traditional activities which maintain their authenticity despite the times. It is an exaltation of Uzbek culture, and it is an event which is deeply rooted in its culture and history. In 2001 UNESCO recognised Boysun Bahori as an Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
Taronalari is one of the most attractive festivities in Uzbekistan for visitors. It is an international music festival which was held for the first time in Samarkand, in 1997. It managed to attract a large number of participants and artists that year and consecutive ones in its next editions. It is celebrated annually in the summer. Many national singers participate, who perform music from the country's ancient folklore, such as uran khai, which is a song performed with the throat. Or the makom, which is a kind of classical or melodic music of the Uzbek tradition. There are also musicians from Asia and Europe, so the festival is a beautiful and enriching mix of cultures and rhythms.
Independence Day (1st September)
Among the popular festivals of Uzbekistan, Independence Day stands out because of its great relevance for the history of the country. That day commemorates the recovery of the sovereignty of Uzbekistan after a long period of Soviet occupation. To celebrate it, parties and events are organised in different towns and cities. The president gives a solemn speech to the entire nation in the Alisher Navoiy National Park in Tashkent, which concludes with a fireworks display.
Teachers and instructors' day (1st October)
Teachers are deeply respected and recognised in Uzbekistan to the point that they have a day to honour them. The students appreciate their work, giving them gifts and flowers.
Constitution Day (8th December)
On 8th December 1992, Oliy Majlis signed the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan. It is composed of 6 sections, 26 chapters and 128 articles. This important day is a national holiday celebrated with different events throughout the country.
This is the Uzbek Christmas and is celebrated in a very similar way to how it is in other countries of the world. Fir trees are decorated, gifts are exchanged and in some places, even Santa Claus himself appears.
One of the characteristics of the Uzbeks is their proverbial hospitality. It is part of very old and respected customs nowadays, with hospitality being a very important rule. In other times, being discourteous with a guest was a dishonour to the family and the entire town. Even if the guest was an enemy. This old tradition lasts until today which makes the Uzbek people behave with great correctness and respect.