Ceremonies and Customs

Karakalpak customs and rituals originated from the culture of the Saks, Pecheneg and Oguz tribes. Today they are reflected in many aspects of their social life, for instance, in hospitality traditions and ceremonies. Thus, the seat of honour is always given to a guest. He also receives a certain part of the traditional national dish (head or another body part of a sacrified animal). After the meal, a ceremony of “trays acceptance” is organized. A host’s wife or daughter-in-law receives the trays, makes a low bow and goes away moving backwards. After that the guest of honour delivers a speech full of velleities especially towards the owners of the house. Finally, young family members (the youngest son or daughter-in-law) pour water from kumgan for the guests to wash their hands.

Karakalpak people have a very peculiar wedding ceremony that includes various rituals organized before and after the wedding. For example, a big celebration and feast are organized in the bride’s house. Every clan member is invited, including her family and neighbours. On the wedding day, the groom’s relatives bring a sheep or a calf (sometimes a bull) and various presents for the bride’s family.

As the groom approaches the house, the bride’s representatives (usually female neighbours) meet him to collect a ransom. During the wedding day he is accompanied by young men and the so-called “sponsor of the wedding,” who pay the ransom instead of him. When the feast is finished, the groom has to pay a second ransom, which is placed on a plate. After that he should pay the bride’s matchmakers. They come to the groom holding dishes full of water and “threaten” to pour it on the groom and his matchmakers. When the groom leaves the house, the bride’s matchmakers demand a new ransom. All these rituals are conducted in a very comic manner.