Wedding plays a significant role in the lives of the Uzbeks and is celebrated with solemnity. From the birth of their first child, families save money throughout the lifetime for one big event- wedding and many of its pre and post rituals.
Attending one Uzbek wedding will reveal the insights of societal and family values, the lifestyle and the history of generations. If you look even deeper you will see how these rituals and customs are reflected in everyday lives of Uzbek people and their significance in identifying a status of a woman in a new family and her future.
There are many kinds of weddings in Uzbek families: Beshik toyi (the ceremony of putting a newly - born baby into a cradle), O’g’l toyi (the circumcision ceremony), Muchal toyi (celebrated when a child is 12 years old) and others. But the main ceremony is Nikokh - the birth of a new family. Nikokh means marriage in Uzbek. The birth of a new family precedes several rites. Sovchi (match - makers) take part in the match - making ceremony. Two or three women headed by the main sovchi visit the girl’s house. The girl’s parents accept the dastarkhan filled with gifts and the food that the sovchi have brought. During their next visit the girl’s parents add a bundle with circular loaves among which lies a broken patyr (larger round bread), which means that the girl’s parents have given their consent to the marriage. This rite is called non sindirish (breaking the bread). Fotikha - toi is a very important stage during which the future is secured with praying (fotikha). Then Kiz - oshi (girl’s meal) and kuyov - nakhori (groom’s breakfast) follow. And at last comes nikokh toi. The groom together with his djura (friends) comes for the bride. At the threshold a poyandoz (white cloth) is spread under his feet. The groom goes to the bride. He is strewn with coins and candies. The bride remains sitting behind the chimildyk (the traditional curtain), and the women hold her for ransom. After this the bek - khalfa (the woman who reads divine texts) evicts any evil spirits from the area with the help of a mirror and smoke from burnt grass called isyrik. Then the newlyweds are brought a piala (bowl) of sweet tea or juice and they finish the drink sip by sip one after the other. This symbolizes a wish for a sweet life in the future.
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