Victory Day (May 9) is a hugely significant holiday in Central Asia, commemorating the end of World War II. Many Central Asians were sent to the front lines to fight, and the losses the region suffered is still somberly remembered every year. My new apartment is located near Victory Square, and when I took a walk there with Darwin on May 8, it was flooded with schoolchildren visiting the monument to pay their respects, learn about their history, and horse around on the tanks that had been set up in anticipation of the following day’s events.
(Fantastic hair bows on the schoolgirls, it’s such a unfamiliar sight to me.)
The next day, a friend and I (and Darwin, of course) met in Ala Too Square for a photography lesson and people-watching (my favorite thing to do during public holidays in Kyrgyzstan).
The fountains were on and there were little kids everywhere.
The square was packed with people. A large crowd stood in a circle and played a game that involved tossing a piece of bone at money laying in the center. I’ve seen it played during other holidays as well.
The weather has been consistently inconsistent for the past few weeks. On this particular day, mild weather turned windy, dark and rainy in a matter of moments. Since then, the sky will oscillate from sunny to stormy over the course of the day. I still managed to catch a few candid shots of people enjoying the day off, whether they were resting on a bench, hurrying out of the rain (only a light drizzle, really), or renting some rollerskates.
And of course, just like every holiday, cheesy backdrops and live animals were around to snap a photo with.