Hi, friends!

My name is Cholpon. I grew up in a small town of Naryn in the south-eastern part of Kyrgyzstan. From the early ages my passion was to travel and discover new places. I enjoyed showing around to my friends and teachers who came from abroad to teach English. Further I entered the University to study linguistics but to connect my life with tourism it was not enough. Therefore I went through special courses of guiding by local mentors in Bishkek who run tourist agencies. This is how I got involved into this world of adventures and new experiences.
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Kyrgyz cradle

Kyrgyz cradle

Kyrgyz cradle is called Beshik. It is a special rocking cradle widely used among nomadic cultures from ancient times. It is usually made of juniper tree that symbolizes a long life.

Beshik has many soft mats, blankets, covers, diapers and two dressings narrowing as ropes in the end. Most importantly it has a special hole called “kultuk” where a jar is placed and a baby can relieve himself with a special pipe called “shimek” made of bones or wood which is put between his legs. This is an important part of cradle, as it allows baby sleep for a few hours without being disturbed by natural urges.  The whole body is fixed with special dressings and baby cannot move. It allows keeping baby steadily in the cradle and staying clean. Beshik was very helpful for mothers while doing domestic work; her elder children could easily take care of child for a while. Also the cradle was easy to fix on a saddle during seasonal roaming of nomads.     

On the 40th day after the birth of child Kyrgyz people organize a big celebration to carry out the ceremony of laying him in beshik. This festive is called “beshik toi”. All relatives, neighbors and friends of family are gathered. Lots of boorsoks (Kyrgyz traditional bread) and meat is cooked. The ceremony is held by elder women, who first must purify it from evil spirits by smocking juniper bush and placing several sheep bones “chuko” on cradle and letting them fall into kultuk. They say “on bol” meaning “be lucky” and carefully lay down the baby and start saying prayers. They ask Umai –ene (angel-guradian of children) to protect his sleep. After it mother takes beshik in her hands and bows in front of elder women in gratitude. 

Nowadays beshik continues taking an honorable place in a row of Kyrgyz traditions carefully kept from generation to generation. You can see its growing popularity when visiting Osh bazaar in Bishkek where there is a whole row of beshik of different shapes and decorations. You can also see one when visiting Kochkor handicraft center. People are still amazed by the idea and practicality of nomads who created such a necessary household item, beshik.

Kyrgyz cradle


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