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Customs and traditions

Not only do Uzbeks but also different nations such as Tadjik, Kyrgyz, Karakalpak live in Namangan city. The local population of the city was occupied with agriculture, handicrafts, farming and trade. Developed Handicraft in Chust, Khasansay, Namangan, horticulture in Yangikurgan, Chartak, farming in Chust, Pop were vividly reflected in deep history of Namangan region.

Customs and ceremonies

Undoubtedly, as a city with strong roots Namangan possesses ancient philosophical, religious conceptions and custom, ceremony and holiday related economy traditions. During centuries they are continually being inherited from generations to generations. They are divided into calendar, labor, family and religious groups. These antique traditions are still present in our nations lifestyle and consist of: Navruz, Mehrjon, Lola stroll, Snowdrop stroll, Flowers Holiday, Water holiday, Sand, Snow, Planting, “Oblo Baraka”, Harvest, Grape, Melon, ploughing the cattle, scraping wool, taking “tul”, “beshik” wedding, scraping hair, The first step, Wedding “Sunnat”, Wedding”Muchal”, Marriage, “Eid Khayit”, “Ramadan Khayit”, “ Laylatu Kadir”, Prophet’s Age, “Mavlud”, “Bibi Mushkulkushod” and etc. The above mentioned traditions of essential importance in ethnoculture of Uzbek nation. Its roots led to the past times, often were under various pressure, sometimes took another look but still are alive and play noticeable role. For instance, “Navruz, Mekhrjon, Kosh Chikarish, Chigit ekish” and so on.

Navruz customs and traditions

There are a lot of ceremonies, customs and traditions related to the eastern people’s sun calendar start with the first holiday Navruz. (nav- new, ruz- day). The holiday we widely celebrate was considered to a holy day and waited impatiently by our ancestors. While the middle ages’ historians said that the origin of Navruz took roots for 3000 or even 3,500 years when the first scientific-geographical imaginations about the Earth appeared contemporary historians give facts that it started from 10th-5th BC. As above was said everyone has his/her justifications but the only general thing is that were found enough written, historical sources proving Navruz to be ancient. In Abu Raykhon Beruniy’s, Abu Mansur Salabiy’s and Umar Khayyom’s works was several times mentioned about ceremonies and customs of it and explained in details. Writer of Middle Ages write that this holiday’s origin  is related to legendary kings such as Koyumars, Jamshid and Sulayman. As soon as people started to celebrate it different governors give their various suggestion about it too. At present it taken seriously and celebrated not in the same way. All of us wait Navruz because it bring some kind of life energy for people and that’s why it is special for every and each of us. Navruz ceremonies are divided into two groups before Navruz and post Navruz, planting trees, flowers, looking after, decorating houses are before holiday ceremonies. Cities, street, cemetaries, everywhere is cleaned up to celebrations and people lay the table for guests, organize “ Hudoyi/ Darveshona” asking the God a year to come good. As well as all the irrigation ditches are washed up and get ready for working season. These traditions are still present.  

There was a belief, provided somebody does it all his/her dreams come true. From ancient times holiday Navruz was finished with taking harness to the field and splashing seed. The ceremonies include several steps like “ Shohmoylar”, “Splashing seed”, “ Harness plov”. It appeared at the end of 3rd and beginning of the 2nd BC and is of direct relation with historical beliefs so were held on the particular days of a week. On the first day when Harness is taken to the field some animal, mostly ram was sacrificed and meals like “Qosh oshi, Qo’sh go’ja, Xudoyi sho’rva” were prepared. Karakalpaks living in Kayragachovul in Mingbulak district of Namangan region sacrifice a cock at the beginning of a field and wishing a new harvesting year to come abundant this task was given to a bachelor. With oil left at the bottom of the pot after “ Qozon to’ldi” day’s meals women fried roll, “O’yma-qatlama” and  horn, collar and neck of a bull were applied with it. According to the older if bulls’ horn collar neck is lubricated with oil it won’t be hurt and will work hard. After the oldest master peasant asks plentiful harvest from the God with optimistic ambitions workers start to work.

Nowadays, the above said traditions take place on the first day of a New year too, people go the different holy places, cemeteries such as “Sad  piri” in Kasansay or  “ Buonamozor” in Chust. Moreover, workers do sacrifice even at the car transport parking devoted to blacksmith’s God “Dovud” asking the year to come profitable and beneficial.

Generally, the first time of cultivation was given to the oldest agriculturist as a symbol of respect for him as soon as he drives one, three or five times (the number should be single) in order to avoid bulls’ to be tired the first day ended. Therefore, party to be continued at home till midnight. All the ceremonies like “ Qo’sh chiqarish, Shox moylar, Qo’sh oshi, urug sepish” comprised the first working day, people believed that they provided the whole season with positive mood and called “ Magic of the first day”.

Since we are studying the origin of Navruz which has a thousand year history it is apparently seen that century to century its customs hardly slightly changed, burning firework, splashing water each other, foretelling future, drinking dried apricot’s juice or magic water, “qozon toldi” ceremony, painting and drawing on cooked eggs, taking walks on high, holy places or cemeteries, visiting parents, going to the countryside, organizing sports games were and are still holding the sway at Navruz. A real meaning of the latter is ambition a new year to bring full of harvest, full tables with various meals and economical abundance to the country. As an obvious reflection of our ancestors’ worldview and spiritual level, holiday Navruz, starts spring holidays and symbolizes nature, rebirth of life and purity, joy, ethics, national pride, self realization, friendship and renewal as well.

Flowers’ festival

Undeniably, at the origin of sequential spring ceremony, that is, nature appreciation lays “ The tree of life”, conceptions related with “The death and rebirth of nature”. Flowers’ holiday serves as a symbol of renewal and festival holds the spirit of recreation and relaxation. Festivals associated with flowers were long held among our people, they are Snow-drop, Tulip, “Sumbula” and etc. All these festivals took place at the countryside. According to Russian researcher’s report citizens of Namangan used to go to the countryside 3 or 4 Fridays successively in March and April in 19th century. In these festivals movable shops, product, bread, tea and sweets counters worked unstoppably. Men and women had a rest and entertained separately.

The holiday associated with the herald of spring snow-drop is still celebrated in Chust, Yangikurgan, Turakurgan and Kasansay. As the beginning of new life, survival from winter’s cold days Snow-drop is given for the elderly people by children. In the territories near to Namangan also children collect this flower into shawls, “belbog’”s and sing the following song in groups of 6 to 10: “Boka boka boy, boy tilla, Uyingizga tosh tilla, Xudoyim o’gil bersin, Kattasini oti Rahmatilla, Kichigini oti Ismatilla”. Whatever home do they visit, hostesses wipe snowdrop on their faces and give fruits or sweets to children and replied: “Omonlik-omonlik hech ko’rmaylik yomonlik, Yanagi shu kunlarga eson-omon yetaylik”. The latter was allusion of life wheel. As well as Festival “Sumbula” can’t be witnessed in other districts except for Chust. According to Islamic beliefs this festival started at the very beginning of spring in very popular follower in Islam world Khuja Abdurahman ibn Avf’s premises and ended in cave “Sunbul”. From 80 s of 20th century this festival was paid great attention. The main festival is held in May. Participants of the festival were comprised of peasants, handicrafts, farmers and traders.

In 60s 20 century at the first time Flowers Festival took place but we couldn’t see it in  other parts of the Republic.  At that times amateur floriculturists, local newspapers, radios agitated population of the city to decorate houses and street with glory flowers. Soon, under the motto “ We will make Namangan, the city of flowers” remarkable steps were taken. In the current culture and recreation park Bobur (at that time Pushkin) a contest of the best floriculturists were organized. At present they arrange florists’ photo exhibitions, and advice centers by specialists for amateurs  mostly at the second half of August on Saturday and Sundays yearly.

This holiday is one of the widely celebrated and impatiently waited holidays of the city where hundreds of people come with their families. It is vital for not only to meet people’s ethic demand but also is of great essence in encouraging the city population with kindness.

Preparation begins before 1-2 weeks to the festival, streets are cleaned and houses are looked after. These activities display victory over evil and encouragement of people to the kindness and mercy.

Festival of mulberry

One of the holidays celebrated at the last days of spring is Mulberry festival. From ancient times mulberry was appreciated and considered as holy fruit moreover, the house where mulberry tree grows said to be delightful and successful. The most grandiose festival took place mostly in big mulberry yards and sometimes at homes. Provided, collecting and eating mulberry is usual occasion, going in big groups and collectively eating it is told to be a festival. According to Nalivkin couples’ information people living in mountains for example, Chust population after collecting mulberry prepared jam and dried mulberry. Though, the festival didn’t involve many participants just family members and neighbors, was celebrated with great joy and mood. During the festival people prepared reservoir to winter and women and children had fun, entertained and organized various competitions. To conclude, mulberry festival, was both economically and ethically useful for people.

Melon festival

There are lots of ceremonies in harvesting and one of them is Melon festival. During middle epochs this holiday was held with big triumphs. As soon as melon started to ripe peasants used to invite village’s respectable people, relative and neighbors to the field to eat melon and have fun. They got preparation for the festival, till a day got hot the most ripe melons were taken off and put in cool places. Testy meals were cooked for invited guests, men, women and children. In the festival men tell joke and anecdotes after the meal and the elderly ask God his harvest to be much and plentiful. Finally, they permit the agriculturist to start harvesting.

On the other hand, we could witness Apple, Grape, Grenade and Fig festivals too in the gardens specialized  for them. These types of festivals were held in historical Kharezm and Sugdiona according to Beriniy’s inscriptions.

Mekhrjon

Mekhrjon is considered to be one of the most triumphal holidays of peasants and farmers celebrated in the middle of Autumn. As the saying of Abu Raykhon Beruniy goes “The sun and moon resemble two eyes of the sky, Navruz and Mekhrjon resemble two eyes of the year.” The name of the holiday is taken from the 7th month’s name in Persian calendar and celebrated between September 23rd and October 22nd. According to “ Memories inherited by ancient nations” written by Beruniy, “ mehr” is the sun and particularly on that day the sun shone over the earth so the holiday was called too. Besides that, Zardusht ordered to celebrate Khayit on the 21st day of the month writes Beriniy. Then, as Navruz Mehkrjon was also celebrated between different layers of the country five days sequentially during a month. If Navruz symbolized the beginning of new working season ans renewal, Mekhrjon did vise versa, it means working season finishes, plants stop to grow and start to sleep. But now, Mekhrjon lost its original meaning and celebrated in two steps the first is cotton picking season’s start the second is harvesting. Despite each vegetable or fruit devoted holidays do we celebrate there is even a general celebration called “harvest holiday”.  In this festival hardworking agriculturists had a rest, different games were organized. Nowadays, this festival is arranged at the centers of districts and entertaining programs take place such as concerts and sports contests. As well as playing one of the most ancient games “Uloq-Kopkari” gives enormous emotions for viewers. In the districts where set plans are completed successfully “Harvest holidays” are held sequentially. This festival symbolizes the gratefulness for harvest and guarding it magically from harm.

Snow letter

In each and every corner of the word the first snow fell in the season is celebrated as a great fun. This type of ceremony is present even in our country. Nevertheless, the custom associated with the fist snow fall is called “Snow letter”. According to the rule of “snow letter” game people should write a letter to their relatives or friends and should give them or hide among their things secretly. Moreover, a person may hire someone to give the letter but writer mustn’t be revealed until giver leaves a house’s gates. Or else, a writer can face some funny trouble or should do the condition him/herself. In Chust if host/hostess suspects a giver they hired somebody to look after the guest provided they catch him with a letter they urged him/her to play snowball with them and hosting refreshments for him/herself. It is said that on the first day of snow in banquet people must forget all the offences, make peace, play joyful interesting games and sing songs, and a year will be as pure and happy as their souls. After culturists had studied Fergana valley they defined that now people don’t ask to give a party but to buy some kind of gift or item which reminds that person. The main goal from this ceremony was to celebrate the first snow which hold sway in proper growing of harvest and to show gratefulness by laying table for guests.