festivals, holidays and events

The following holidays are official ones. All government agencies, schools, banks and most workplaces are closed on these days. If a holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following day also becomes a day-off.




New Year's Day

1 Jan

Celebrating the start of the New Year. Christmass trees, gifts, fireworks.

Day of Motherland defenders

14 Jan

Men get special attention and usually receive gifts from women. Parades, fireworks.

Int. women's Day

8 Mar

Flowers, perfume and chocolate for women. The males do all house works. Women also get special attention and usually
receive flowers and a gift.


21 Mar

Asian "New Year's Day". Family celebtrations. Street festivals.

Day of memory and honour. (Prv. Victory Day).

9 May

Commemoration of Soviet Union victory over Germany in WWII. Military Parade. Greeting veterans. Fireworks.

Independence Day

1 Sept

Commemoration of obtaining independence from SU. Street festivals, fireworks.

Flag Day

8 Nov

Commemoration of adoption of state flag. Street festivals.

Constitution Day

8 Dec

Commemorating the establishment of the Constitution of
the Uzbekistan Republic. Street festivals.

Note: Some Muslim festivals fall on different dates every year. Like Kurban Hait (Id-al-Adha) and Ramazan Hait (Id-al-Fitr) are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon. The exact dates are established by a decree of the President.

  The Uzbekistani people also celebrate following religious holidays you should be aware of.

Russian Ortodox Easter

An Orthodox celebration of the resurrection of Jesus is celebrated on the second Sunday in April. Official day-off. Charch visiting. Baking special bread "Kulich"


This is one of the great Muslim holidays celebrated all over the world. This holiday has a especial importance for pilgrims taking the Haj to Mecca. Those who celebrate Qurban Hayit at home, visit friends and relatives or meet with friends, help the sick, lonely and old people after completing required rituals.


A time of spiritual and moral purification during a 30-day period of fasting called Uraza that coincides with the 9th month (Khidjra) of the Muslim calendar. This holiday is also known as Ruza Hayit. The Muslim religion treats fasting as a way of spiritual upbringing. It is also used to remember deceased relatives, to visit aged and sick people and to perform charitable work. The first days of Qurban Hayit and Ramazan Hayit religious holidays are non-working days.

In addition to official holidays and days-off there are also some popular holidays that are celebrated by local folks.

Feb 14. St.Valentine's Day

A day to exchange love cards between couples and friends to show how much you appreciate your second half. Mostly celebrated by young people.

Feb 23. Men's Day

Formerly the official Soviet Army Day in the Soviet Union. Men get special attention and usually receive gifts from women.

Apr 1.
April Fool's Day

A day for playing harmless jokes on others.

Note: International organisations and foreign embassies are closed on both Uzbek and their respective national holidays. Make sure you plan your visits to places and other activities in advance.


The Nukus' Pakhta-Bairam harvest festival, held in Karakalpak in December, is one of the few places in the world where you'll see a game of ylaq oyyny . In this Central Asian form of polo, players hit a goat carcass around the field - Prince Charles would fit right in. If that gets the adrenalin flowing, you can also check out wrestling, ram fighting and cock fighting.

Qurban , the Feast of Sacrifice, is celebrated with the slaughter of animals and the sharing of meat with relatives and the poor.

In May of even-numbered years, Tashkent hosts a film festival which features celluloid style from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Samarkand hosts the Children's Peace & Disarmament Festival every 23 October - celebrations revolve around the International Museum of Peace & Solidarity, a remarkable collection of memorabilia.

By far the biggest Central Asian holiday is the spring festival of Navrus (New Days), an Islamic adaptation of pre-Islamic vernal equinox or renewal celebrations, celebrated approximately on the vernal equinox (21 March). It's a two day affair consisting of traditional games, music, drama festivals, street art and colourful fairs, and one of the best places to get in on the fun is Samarkand.

Every year Unesco celebrates this festival, called “Open Folklore Festival”, in order to promote and protect Boysun's traditions. During this festival uzbek and foreign artists, both professional and popular, play traditional songs and musics and show off their handcrafts.

“Sharq Taronalari” Festival (Oriental Melodies Festival) is celebrated every two years in Samarkand with musicians from all around Central Asia (at the end of August). It is one of the most important Asian music festivals of the world.

This festival, called Ilkhom (Inspiration), was celebrated for the first time in 1996 thanks to the composer Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky. It is becoming more and more popular at international level.



A great number of rites and customs accompany the Uzbek family life. Weddings are considered to be the most important event in one's life. Preparations for this special occasion begin from the birth.
Uzbeks love to gather in big groups and entertain the whole village ( kishlak ) or mahallya (community in cities) on family occasions.
Mass people's festivities are widely celebrated. They are followed by various ceremonies, festive bazaars at which musicians, dancers, wrestlers perform.
Uzbeks are very friendly and hospitable people. It is said: "If one does not have delicious food for a guest, one should have sweet words for him". Uzbeks are supportive of each other.
The ancient custom of Khashar is a unique form of mutual assistance. If a fellow-villager finds himself in difficulty, all the neighbours gather to help him. Mutual assistance reveals itself also while preparing for wedding and circumcision parties, house building, and funeral ceremonies. Uzbeks traditionally have respect for older people


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