Folklore und Volkstraditionen Usbekistans, Folklore and Folk Traditions of Uzbekistan, Folklore et Traditions populaires de l'Ouzbékistan, Folklore e tradizioni popolari dell'Uzbekistan, Фольклор и народные традиции Узбекистана

Folklore and Folk Traditions of Uzbekistan

Folklore and folk traditions of Uzbekistan: a cultural journey through history and identity

Uzbekistan, a country rich in cultural diversity and historical significance, is known for its deeply rooted folklore and folk traditions. These rich customs and traditions reflect the country’s rich history, ethnic diversity and religious tolerance. In this comprehensive overview, we will explore the fascinating world of Uzbek folklore and folk traditions, from their historical roots to their significance today.

Historical context: The folklore and folk traditions of Uzbekistan have deep historical roots dating back to ancient times. The country, which was once an important centre of the Silk Road, witnessed the exchange of ideas, cultures and traditions between East and West. The various periods of rule, including the Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Mongols and Russians, all left their mark on the country’s folklore and traditions.

Music and dance: Music plays a central role in Uzbek culture. Traditional Uzbek musical instruments such as the tar (long-necked lute), the dombra (string instrument) and the doira (drum) are often played at festivals, weddings and other social occasions. Popular musical genres include maqom, shashmaqom and katta ashula.

Dance is also an integral part of Uzbek folklore. Each region of the country has its own dance styles and traditions, which often tell stories of love, nature and heroism. The best-known dances include the “Lazgi” from the Fergana region and the “Beshkent” from the Khorezm region.

UNESCO has included in the list of masterpieces of spiritual heritage of the World Heritage Site the cultural heritage of the Boysun region in the Surkhandarya region of Uzbekistan and the Uzbek “Shashmaqom”, which is part of the folklore and folk traditions of Uzbekistan – a musical cycle consisting of many classical music pieces.

As part of the project “Preserving the cultural heritage of Boysun for the future generation of the country”, a scientific expedition, a festival “Boysun bahori” (Spring of Boysun) and a regional conference were organised in Boysun. Scientific books and multimedia discs “Boysun art” and “Musical art of Boysun” were published. A museum and centre for national applied arts was opened in Boysun. A centre for the development of cultural tourism was established and the folklore academy “House of Culture” with modern equipment was opened in Boysun. In 2001, UNESCO recognised the Boysun culture as a “masterpiece of oral and spiritual heritage”. In 2002 the first Boysun-Bahori Folklore and Folk Traditions of Uzbekistan was held.

As part of the project “Preserving and developing Shoshmaqom and passing it on to future generations”, books entitled “The customs of Shoshmaqom and modern times”, “Fakhriddin Sodikov”, “Maqom of Tashkent and Fergana” and “Maqom of Chorezm” were published; a book by Yunus Rajabiy entitled “Shoshmaqom” was prepared for printing and audio discs and video films entitled “Shoshmaqom” were produced.

Proverbs and stories: Oral tradition plays an important role in the transmission of folklore and folk traditions. Proverbs, folk tales and legends are passed down from generation to generation and serve as lessons in morals, ethics and life wisdom. These stories often tell of heroism, cunning and overcoming obstacles.

Craftsmanship and textile art: Uzbekistan is also known for its exquisite craftsmanship and textile art. The production of carpets, embroidery, ceramics and wood carvings has been an important part of Uzbek culture for centuries. Each region of the country has its own traditional crafts and techniques, which are often passed down from generation to generation.

Religious festivals and ceremonies: Uzbekistan is a country of religious diversity where Islam is the dominant religion. Religious festivals and ceremonies play an important role in people’s lives and provide an opportunity for spiritual reflection and fellowship. Festivals such as Nowruz (the Uzbek New Year), Ramadan and Kurban Ait are celebrated with great devotion and joy.

Modern impact and preservation: Despite modernisation and globalisation, Uzbekistan’s folklore and folk traditions remain alive and are valued and preserved by the people. Government initiatives to promote cultural heritage, including the protection of monuments, support for artisans and the organisation of cultural events, help to preserve these important traditions.

Overall, Uzbekistan’s folklore and folk traditions reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage. They are not only sources of entertainment, but also important means of preserving the identity and heritage of the Uzbek people. Through their diversity and beauty, they contribute to the cultural enrichment not only of Uzbekistan, but of humanity as a whole.

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