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A Tale of Two Culture

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Submitted By Brutus1906
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Although it is true they reside in the same continent, the Uzbeks and Tajiks have very different, yet in some ways similar styles of marriage and culture. I am writing an essay about the Uzbeks and Tajiks, of the former Soviet Union. We will take a look at these two cultures and compare the difference as well as similarities of these tribes of people.
The comparison these two culture have in common is they were both part of the Soviet Union until it collapsed in 1991. The Tajiks are an Indo- European people who family settled near the Amu River which is now present-day Uzbekistan. During the end of the nineteenth century, the Tajiks were divided. The Majority of the population occupied what would become the republic of Tajikistan in the former Soviet Union. The rest are living as the large minority in Afghanistan which is to the south of Uzbekistan. The Uzbek homeland is situated on the site of the ancient Bactrian and Sogdian civilizations is where most Uzbeks have been settled for more than three hundred years to the region in which they live. Although these two culture are not part of the Soviet Union there have been drastic changes to all aspects of Central Asian societies. The Uzbekistan's landscape consists of deserts, dry plains, and fertile oases near rivers with the Aral Sea being a vital resource of their water resources to their agriculture need. The Aral Sea has lost up to sixty present of its water due to the agriculture usage. The Tajikistan landscape consist of the Zarafshan Mountains and their lush valleys and flat plains form the northern Kulturbund which is the boundary of their traditional home land and the Badakhshan Mountains form the southern boundary of their ancestral homeland.
In 2007 marked the ten year anniversary of the end to the civil war which devastated Tajikistan's economy. "The U.S.S.R.'s collapse also ended Tajikistan's isolation from the rest of the Muslim world, especially in the capital city. Satellite dishes receiving Iranian and Arabic channels crowd the rooftops, while Internet cafes are sprouting up throughout the entire city. Students are studying abroad in places like Turkey, Egypt, and Iran, and pilgrims are traveling to Mecca. As people learn more about Islam, many are trying to incorporate their new found knowledge into their lives." Sypko, S. (2007).
To the Uzbek religion plays an important role in their traditional culture. While most of the Uzbek are Sunni Muslims of the Hanafi sect. During The reign of Russia form the 1918 to 1991 the government was discouraging religious practices in this region. If a Muslim clergymen was caught practicing religion he was persecuted under Soviet Reign. Since 1991 marked the end of Soviet rule many new mosques has been built in Tajikistan. Tashkent is one of central Asia's leading Islamic spiritual centers in this region. Sufism is another branch of Islam which is also practiced by some Uzbeks. While these two States was from the same Soviet nation that crumbled in 1991 the practice of Islam is more prevalent in Tajikistan than it is in Uzbekistan. The present-day Tajikistan was a part of the empire of the Achaemenian Persians in ancient times which their religion was Zoroastrianism until the conquest of Arab in the eight century, Islam was introduced. The religion remained unchallenged until the rise of atheism in the early years of the twentieth century. Today atheists, Muslims, Jews, and Christians live together in modern day Tajikistan. While the Uzbeks The one thing I see in which the two differ from one another is that when they gain their independence from the Soviet Union is that Tajikistan's all but destroyed economy of this country with a civil war over the religion.
Now we will examine the difference in marriage ritual and rites, both cultures take this a very serious moment in the life of the tribes, and each ceremony. Every person of the respected tribe understands the important of rite and the vows and commitment taken during marriage. Of course, unlike the traditions in the United States, it is often seen, that the brides and grooms are chosen even before the ceremony. These traditions while may appear out of the norm, it is my belief that each tribe has it place in history and in the creation of many sacred rites of today.
The Tajik take their religious ceremony very serious in that in the marriage process they follow the old custom when the young couple is ready to get married they followed the same rituals that their ancestor did. “The ceremony in Tajikistan today extends over several days and can be divided into three parts: the religious wedding (nikoh), the traditional wedding (tu¯y), and the civil marriage ceremony (ZAGS). These three parts vary widely in their combination and sequence during the entire wedding ceremony.” (Roche, S., & Hohmann, S. 2011 p113). In the Tajik marriage ceremony when a groom must notify the bride's parents in advanced before he come bearing gifts. The gift for the bride's father would consist an overcoat. The gift for the bride's mother would consist of a silk dress, 40 meters of material, and liquor all these things was consider as investment peace. They assemble at the bride's house to meet the groom and his best man and his friends. The guest are separated by sex where the continued into the young people's room where the older people began an unhurried conversation and escalate to singing and playing a string instrument to praise the bride and groom. The depart the next morning to return that afternoon to finish up the wedding ceremony before leaving to the grooms house where the bride's mother would pass out gifts to the guests the pridanoe is inspected and the tea is drunk which ends the marriage ceremony. Other wedding may vary from this one that is describe.
Weddings are very important in Uzbek life, as a social event and the rite of passage. The wedding is the centerpiece for the social part of their culture. The Uzbek, "wedding ritual itself The Communal and the Sacred: Women's Worlds of Ritual in Uzbekistan: the religious nikoh, with a mullah officiating and the official registration at the ZAGs, followed a visit to the local memorial and a wedding party involving singing, dancing, and the consumption of alcohol." Kandiyoti, D., & Azimova, N. (2004). Nowadays which is known as the Uzbek colorful wedding costume to replace the white wedding gown so the bride and groom can be making their way to the nearest Amir Timur memorial, in order to commemorate the national hero of the new Uzbek state. As we have seen, these cultures are and can been considered the same in most ways, however the one difference that seems to be the most prevalent in both is the marriage must always be sanctified and purified.
Building a family through a marriage sanctified by a religious ceremony is considered one of the most sacred aspects of the tribes. It is also a way to develop a social structure with the blessings and support of fellow members of the tribe’s community. Often an elder family member person is involved in choosing a bride. A daughter will move to the home of her husband's family, and her parents want to be sure that she will be provided for. They pay close attention to the groom's education and lifestyle, and the economic situation of his family.
It is very amazing how these cultures truly transcend into what we have often seen, the importance of a stable life from the side of the groom, so my statement can be made that also the Uzbeks and Tajiks are different this vital aspect of their culture carry’s on into the Western Hemisphere where these beliefs can be found today. These ceremonies are nothing short of spectacular often months and sometimes years are taken to truly prepare for the joyous celebration, that each tribe hold to such high esteem. While many would believe that with such poor economic areas, these regions are and tend to thrive within their own society and cities, this creates the revenue for each to afford and embellish such extravagant ceremonies. Of course not all ceremonies are extravagant as the Uzbeks take pride in having close but very private weddings, amount family and friends.
While, we have taken time to examine just one aspect of these cultures, there so still so many areas of the tribes that are fascinating. These tribes while they will always remain different and have so many areas that will remain sacred. They truly have a lot of similar idea and beliefs when it comes to marriage and family values. My hope for you after reading this, that you will now have an idea of the importance of these cultures, as it relates to the society today. I also hope you can see the similarities they share as well. Although not a complete history of the two tribes I have enjoyed my research and taking time to examine the amazing marriage culture of the Uzbeks and the Tajiks.

Reference Page
Sypko, S. (2007). Tajiks wrestle with identity and islam. Far Eastern Economic Review, 170(8), 41-45, 2. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/208256132?accountid=32521

Kandiyoti, D., & Azimova, N. (2004). The communal and the sacred: women's worlds of ritual in Uzbekistan. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 10(2), 327-349. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9655.2004.00192.x

Roche, S., & Hohmann, S. (2011). Wedding rituals and the struggle over national identities. Central Asian Survey, 30(1), 113-128. doi:10.1080/02634937.2011.554065…...

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