In the current times of turbulence in my country, when you all have chance to watch television news and see all the hostility, I feel like praising it, I feel like speaking up about its beauty and hospitality. About how genuine and beautiful its citizens are.

In other words, I feel like loving this country as I always have for being unique and beautiful, for its flexibility and ability to unite so much diversity and controversy.

And that’s the only way I can feel and the only way I can perceive my country: therefore I am going to talk about positive sides of Kyrgyzstan, and things that surprise and amaze me in my own country. Welcome to Kyrgyzstan, ladies and gentlemen!

praying for peace in Kyrgyzstan

In times of hostility and anger people should think about spirituality, tolerance and forgiveness. Recently, spiritual practitioners from all corners of the Earth have united together in prayer for wisdom and peace in the hearts of the Kyrgyz people.

On the day of the summer equinox, traditional practicioners from Guatemala, USA, Korea, Kenya, Japan and Kyrgyzstan lit “Uluu Ot” (Holy Fire) on the southern shore of Issyk-Kul, in the holy site Manjyly-Ata, (which consists of holy burials, trees and mountains) to pray together for peace worldwide and, in particular, in the south of Kyrgyzstan.

Uluu Ot (Holy Fire)

Spiritual Practicioners arrived in Kyrgyzstan in the framework of the seminar on the role of traditions in the forms of self-organization, organized by the Aigine Cultural Research Center. The seminar was organized for students and local residents interested in reviving traditions.

All these social tensions in Kyrgyzstan occur from the fact that the Kyrgyz people have forgotten their traditions and identity, and hence the basis of their existence,” said Chynara Seidakhmatova, participant of the seminar.

During the workshop, participants exchanged views on the role of traditions in the modern world, the possibility of the use of tradition and also heard lectures about how traditions are practiced around the world. However, besides the exchange of information for traditional practitioners it was important to contribute to the resolution of the conflict in the south of Kyrgyzstan.

This is an incredibly beautiful country, blessed with mountains and lake, but residents of Kyrgyzstan must understand that they are one,” said Dabassa Guyo, spiritual leader of the Oromo tribe in Kenya.

Traditional rituals asking for peace

Each foreign guest of the seminar made a traditional ritual, asking for the restoration of peace and prosperity in Kyrgyzstan and throughout the world. All the rituals were accompanied by the lighting of ceremonial lamps as we are reminded spiritual practices, fire united all the people before they became divided by linguistic, racial and geographical characteristics.

Lighting of ceremonial lampsIndigenous peoples from around the world lit a fire as a symbol of human power and the praise of being, for all the ancient peoples of the fire was extremely important, both for everyday life, and during special rituals,” – said Dr. Apela Colorado, a researcher of traditional knowledge from the State of Hawaii, USA.

The idea of reviving “Uluu Ot” Sacred Fire ceremony came from the idea to unite different people and ask for general well-being, and was initiated by Kyrgyz spiritual practicioners from Talas: Japarkul and Sonunbubu. This expectation is they are addressed to Dr. Apela Colorado and Aigine employees in the holy place Arashan in Talas, Kyrgyzstan. The fact that the revival of the ceremony Uluu From – Sacred Fire happened in Kyrgyzstan, not accidental, according to proponents.

Kyrgyzstan is sacred land, is home to Manas, and the task now is to bring together people from all over the world, as we all want the same: prosperity and happiness,” said Japarkul.

Practitioners from around the world praying for peace

Rites of the Kyrgyz, Altaic, Maya and Oromo were accompanied by tales of the epic “Manas“, the prayers in one of the languages of Mayan, African ritual dances, playing komuz and the Muslim healing ritual “zikir chalysh

Life must go on despite political upheavals, and people should strive for prosperity and goodness, have entered into the action”, commented Nurak Abdrakhmanov, prominent komuzchu (komuz player) in Kyrgyzstan.

Nargiza Ryskulova is a journalism student at the American University in Central Asia. On PocketCultures she will be writing more about Kyrgyzstan – things that she loves about her country, things she enjoys and things that inspire her in her everyday life. Her blog is called Life as it is.

Thanks also to Sons of Hedin for introducing us to Nargiza. The Sons of Hedin foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enhancing global awareness of Greater Central Asia and is a great place to read more about Kyrgyzstan and the other Central Asian countries.

Read more:
Where in the world is Mongolia?
How to say hello in 20 languages
Uzbekistan looks to tourism

About the author

Nargiza is a journalism student at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She has also studied in the USA as part of the Future Leaders Exchange programme. She speaks Kyrgyz, Russian and English.