Kyrgyz Life Cycle Rituals by Abdymitalip Murzakmetov

Date: 05 April 2011
Location: UCA Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic

Speaker: Abdymitalip Murzakmetov
Date: 5 April 2011, 4 PM
Venue: University of Central Asia, 138 Toktogul Street,
Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic Conference Room.

(The views presented in this lecture are those of the presenter and not necessarily those of the University of Central Asia or any of its staff)

Throughout the life cycle, from birth to death, communities practice various rituals related to the key lifetime events, such as the birth and growth of a child, marriage and death. In Kyrgyzstan, these rituals encompass ancient worldviews, beliefs and values, and traditional knowledge on pedagogy and medicine, and can be considered an “oral constitution.” Unfortunately, this unique aspect of Kyrgyz traditional culture has not received enough scholarly attention. While life cycle rituals are still practiced in everyday life, due to the Soviet atheist ideology, they are commonly perceived as backward and remnants of the past. At the same time, the number of older people possessing rich traditional knowledge is decreasing day-by-day. Therefore, in the era of the globalization, it is important to document and preserve Kyrgyz traditional knowledge and values, including life cycle rituals. This lecture will present the findings of the ethnographic field research on life cycle rituals, conducted in several regions of southern Kyrgyzstan over the last ten years.

Please RSVP to with your name and affiliation. Please indicate if you require English translation.

Abdymitalip Murzakmetov is a professor at Osh State University. Trained as a philologist, he teaches courses on Kyrgyz language and literature. Abdymitalip Murzakmetov holds a Candidate Nauk degree (Candidate of Sciences) in History (2007), and he wrote his dissertation on Kyrgyz rituals related to child birth and growth. He is also the author of two books, Kyrgyz Beliefs and Rituals, 2005 and The Dictionary of Kyrgyz Idioms and Phrases, 2000), and over 70 articles.

The presentation will be conducted in Kyrgyz. English translation will be provided upon prior request.