Here is a shortlist of Central Asia Events and festivals. Please take into acccount that the dates of the festivals may change every year.
Snowdrop Festival, Tajikistan
The mountainous country is wrapped with snow most time of the year. Spring and warm sun are so much expected here that they even have a special day to celebrate the arrival of spring. Snowdrop festival is the celebration of the first snowdrops. According to tradition, children are looking for snowdrops and the one who finds it first is the lucky one. Another beautiful tradition is to present snowdrops to women as a symbol of a new life, beauty and youth. Women put the flowers to eyes thanking God for the spring.
Festival “Xalqlar do’stligi”, Uzbekistan
The international Xalqlar do’stligi festival presents the national culture of Central Asian countries and not only. During the festival, there are presented the national clothes and folk music of Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Turkmen, Karakalpak, Turkish, Azerbaijani, Tatar, Korean, German and Jewish cultures. The festival is held in the ancient palace of Abdulahadkhon in Kagan city.
Dushanbe Jazz Festival, Tajikistan
Since 2009 the Tajik National Conservatory together with Bactria Cultural Center and the Swiss Cooperation Office organizes ethno jazz festival for the musicians not only from Central Asia but all over the world. The main purpose of these kinds of festivals and events is to develop new genres and combine ethnic music with different styles. During the festival days, Dushanbe hosts different concerts and masterclasses.
A Drop of Water – A Grain of Gold Festival, Turkmenistan
The national holiday is celebrated on the first Sunday of April. The name of the festival is very symbolic; water is the biggest treasure of Turkmenistan and even a drop of water is real gold in desert country. The festival is held on the bank of Karakum River, northern Ashbagat. The main part of the festival is the concert with the performances of national songs and dances. The final part of the concert is the ceremony of awarding workers in the water sector.
Boysun Bahori Festival, Uzbekistan
Boysun is a small village in the Baisuntau Mountains with their traditions and lifestyle that haven’t changed since pre-Islamic times. This festival is the celebration of the preservation of those traditions. In 2001 this unique culture got the name of Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. Since then the region celebrates Boysun Bahori Festival with traditional dances, songs, competitions and exhibition of handicrafts.
Nasreddin Afandi Festival, Uzbekistan
In Uzbekistan, April Fool’s day or the World Day of Laugh is celebrated in its own way. The festival is a tribute to national hero Khoja Nasreddin and for two days Bukhara is filled with laughter. This great event is full of satirical miniatures, anecdotes and short tales.
Silk & Spices Festival, Uzbekistan
This is a true holiday and celebration of the folk art of the Uzbek nation. The festival is held in Bukhara in May, or at the beginning of June. “Ipak va Ziraravlar” includes national dances and songs, presentations of traditional costumes and an exhibition of artisans of spices. The tastiest part of the day is the pilaf festival.
International festival “the flavours and ancient skills of Khiva”
The main event of the international festival of traditional dishes is the preparation and presentation of Khan’s dishes. The organizers and participants also present master classes, an exhibition of traditional crafts and degustation of treats.
Chimgan Echo International Festival, Uzbekistan
Chimgan Echo is an international competition for rock climbing. The aim of the festival is the public awareness of ecological issues and their integration. The slogan of this environmental campaign is “we are for a clean Chimgan”. The main organizer of the festival is the Federation of extreme and mountain tourism of Uzbekistan.
The roof of the World Festival, Tajikistan
The annual cultural festival is held in Khorog, on the show-stopping background of Pamir Mountains also called “roof of the world”. The celebration of culture is now a national holiday that started with a small festival in 2008. This is a unique fest of Pamir traditions, music and customs. To celebrate the day all the artists, craftspeople, dancers, singers and poets of the Gorno Badakhshan region and neighbouring countries gather for the show. The program of the festival includes national dances, songs exhibitions and performances.
Biker Celebration ‘Protect Balkhash’, Kazakhstan
The annual biker celebration is held on the shores of Lake Balkhash where hundreds of bikers participate in different performances. The event includes the impressive show of stunts on bikes, concert of local rock groups, a parade of brides and tree planting. The festival aims to attract tourists and develop tourism in the country. The location is chosen very carefully; lake Balkhash is one of the most popular attractions in Kazakhstan. It is the twelfth largest continental lake in the world. The poor ecology of the lake was the reason why activists organized the festival for the first time. Every year and during the whole year they are fighting against the killing factors that badly affect the ecology of Balkhash.
Uba Chants Ethnic Folk Festival, Kazakhstan
Uba Chants ethnic folk festival is held in the village of Poperechnoe gathering all the ethnic groups living on the territory of Kazakhstan. The festival is all about dances and songs.
National Horse Games Festival, Kyrgyzstan
On the fourth Saturday of July, the villagers celebrate the summer pasture by performing traditional ulak-tartysh games, national dances and food, horseback races and wrestling. The festival is organized in different regions and the main activity is horseback riding and bird hunting. The most spectacular one, that is worth to take part, is Song Kul national horse games festival on the shore of Song Kul lake.
Teskey-Jeek Ethno-Fest, Kyrgyzstan
The annual ethno-fest is held on the south shores of Issyk-Kul lake, one of the most picturesque places of Kyrgyzstan. This is a unique festival where nomadic traditions like eagle hunting, horseback riding, yurt-building are presented. The festival also presents the traditional dishes and exhibition of handicrafts.
Lamp Festival, Tajikistan
Lamp festival or Pilik dates back to pre-Islamic times when Tajiks practised Zoroastrianism. On this day Tajiks light lamps with family members and pray. The festival is finished with dinner.
FourE Festival, Kazakhstan
FourE is an international festival held in Almaty region gathering guests from all over the world. It is another wonderful event to talk about global issues and not only. Four E means Ecology, Ethnics, Emotions, Evolution. These factors are the most important for the self-development of any individual. This is a huge festival with different activities held in the nonstop regime.
Birds of Prey Festival, Kyrgyzstan
Birds of Prey Festival is held on the third Saturday of August, on the southern shore of Lake Issyk-Kol. During the festival, the falconers all around the country take part in the competition with hawks, falcons and eagles. The impressive show of birds hunting is a part of the culture of nomads in Kyrgyzstan. The festival is a tribute to the ancient tradition of bird hunting that was once a lifestyle. Besides main performances, there are traditional dances, Kyrgyz games, exhibitions of handicrafts, folklore show and degustation of traditional Kyrgyz dishes.
International Gastronomic Festival, Uzbekistan
The International Gastronomic Festival gathers the best restaurateurs and chefs from Uzbekistan and Central Asia to present national dishes. The festival takes place in Tashkent.
Kochu Festival, Kyrgyzstan
Kochu festival is the celebration of the migration of nomadic herders for winter. Main activities of the festival are horse races, games, traditional songs, folk music and treatment.
Apple Festival, Kazakhstan
The annual Apple Fest in Almaty gathers together regional gardeners to present the best sorts of apples. Besides exhibition and sales, there are several thematic events like Apple Music and Apple Drive with a skate park for cyclists and skaters.
World Nomad Games, Kyrgyzstan
The festival is held every two years at the Hippodrome close to Cholpon-Ata, north shore of Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan. This year World Nomad Games are planned at the beginning of September with sportsmen all over the world to take part in eagle hunting, horseback wrestling, horse racing and archery.
Didor Film Festival, Tajikistan
One of the most important cinematography events of the region is Didor Film Festival in Dushanbe. More than 40 films are presented from Russia, Iran, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and the United States. This is a great event to create a bridge between the cultures of East and West.
Shymkent Food festival, Kazakhstan
The third-largest city in Kazakhstan hosts the annual Food festival where all the traditional dishes and sweets are presented. The food is prepared on the spot by famous chefs of local restaurants who are ready to share their experience.
Toikazan is another food festival held in Almaty. Besides the main ceremony of cooking beshbarmak there are horse-riding games and competition of best national clothes.
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