Nouruz ’13

Another year in Bishkek, another Nouruz spent wandering around Ala-Too Square.

A woman explains the process of making sumalak.

I mean, I like to celebrate a Zoroastrian holiday by performing karaoke in a public square. There are at least a dozen portable entertainment centers set up, by which I mean an old, blocky, static-y TV shoved into a rickety, handmade wooden cabinet on wheels, with a dysfunctional karaoke system rigged up to it. When they’re all in use, all you can hear is a cacophony of tone-deaf wailing.

Someone on twitter said one of their foreign friends asked him what “Hoopy 3” was, which makes sense when you try to read the Cyrillic letters in English. (Нооруз spells Nooruz in Russian)

Count ’em. There are four Nouruz 2013 photo backdrops in this one shot.

Blegh, for a holiday meant to celebrate the start of Spring, it was a dreary, grey day.

Another concert this year! I swear I’ve heard this guy’s songs before, but his name escapes me. (Any hints, readers?)

Forget where you are? This little guy has you covered.

Hey cute old men! They’re like the Kyrgyz version of Statler and Waldorf.

I didn’t notice this last year, but there were so many of these pull-up bars set up. If you wanted to display your manliness, you could pay a small sum and attempt to hold on for a specified amount of time. I’m not sure what happened next, maybe you’d get a cash prize if you succeed? It’s either a great way to show off your strength, or a quick way to make sure you embarrass yourself in front of thousands of your fellow countrymen.

This is probably my last Nouruz in Kyrgyzstan, but luckily the month of May holds plenty of public holidays, meaning more opportunities to people watch in the main square.

3 replies on “Nouruz ’13”

  1. Just spent an hour reading your blog and enjoying your photographs- thanks for sharing!

    1. It does look similar, but Astana has a lot more artisans is seems like. There weren’t any craftsmen doing silversmithing or engraving bracelets down here. Very cool video, thanks for sharing!

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