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Ethnic Kazakh Villagers Celebrate A Besik-Toi

RFE/RL's Kazakh Service presents photos from the "besik-toi" (literally a "cradle celebration") of a Kazakh diaspora family living in the village of Rokhat outside the Uzbek city of Zarafshan. In July Dairbai, and Zylikha organized a besik-toi for their grandson, the child of eldest son Gani and his bride, Asiya.

Weddings and besik-toi unite all the region's residents, ethnic Kazakhs, Tajiks, and Uzbeks. These celebrations are especially important for Kazakhs, because they meet with family who have visited Kazakhstan.

During preparations for the celebration in honor of the 7-month-old grandson, Darkhan, the older female guests put another of Dairbai and Zylikha’s grandchildren, Duman, in a cradle.
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During preparations for the celebration in honor of the 7-month-old grandson, Darkhan, the older female guests put another of Dairbai and Zylikha’s grandchildren, Duman, in a cradle.

Asiya's parents arrive with generous gifts for their grandson, including the most important -- a new cradle.
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Asiya's parents arrive with generous gifts for their grandson, including the most important -- a new cradle.

Relatives bring gifts for Darkhan.
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Relatives bring gifts for Darkhan.

Dairbai and Zylikha’s grandchild Duman, despite the noise, has fallen asleep in the cradle.
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Dairbai and Zylikha’s grandchild Duman, despite the noise, has fallen asleep in the cradle.

Younger family members are waiting for guests, setting the table, and preparing speeches and songs.
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Younger family members are waiting for guests, setting the table, and preparing speeches and songs.

Darkhan's mother, Asiya, is on her way to take morning pilafs to the ​neighbors. One of Dairbai and Zylikha’s daughters-in-law, Gulmira, has cooked pilaf for the morning. 
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Darkhan's mother, Asiya, is on her way to take morning pilafs to the ​neighbors. One of Dairbai and Zylikha’s daughters-in-law, Gulmira, has cooked pilaf for the morning. 

Inlaws and distinguished guests are seated at the head of the table, as two men sing for them.
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Inlaws and distinguished guests are seated at the head of the table, as two men sing for them.

At a Kazakh celebration, married women can be recognized by a head scarf. This woman helped the family to serve the guests.
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At a Kazakh celebration, married women can be recognized by a head scarf. This woman helped the family to serve the guests.

According to local traditions, Zarafshan Kazakhs offer visitors pilaf with meat.
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According to local traditions, Zarafshan Kazakhs offer visitors pilaf with meat.

Darkhan is laid in the cradle, where important guests place sweets.
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Darkhan is laid in the cradle, where important guests place sweets.

Asiya's family present Dairbai with a "chapan," or coat. At a besik-toi, gifts are brought not only for the children but for adults as well. 
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Asiya's family present Dairbai with a "chapan," or coat. At a besik-toi, gifts are brought not only for the children but for adults as well. 

After Darkhan is put in the cradle, the women pray, with the boy's grandmother reading a prayer.
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After Darkhan is put in the cradle, the women pray, with the boy's grandmother reading a prayer.

Lying in his new cradle, Darkhan looks at his grandmother.
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Lying in his new cradle, Darkhan looks at his grandmother.

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