This is the kind of reaction I get whenever I say that I come from Tajikistan :) Once I was even asked was it named after you since they thought my name was similar to the name of my country... hmm...But here who we are Tajiks:
Tajiks are of Persian descent and one of the ancient ethnic groups that live in Central Asia. A nation with a truly distinctive culture and traditions that has given the world many great writers, thinkers and poets, such as Avicenna, Rumi, Omar Khayam, to name the few. Throughout their history, Tajiks always had craving for art and beauty, authenticity, music and folklore. Rich in cotton fields, Tajiks have always had a tradition of making handmade silk and cotton fabrics. In the West, it is known as ‘ikat’ and wonderful embroidery using ancient technique 'suzani' (more on these in my future blogs).
So, where is Tajikistan?
Tajikistan is a landlocked country, which borders with Kyrgyzstan in the north, Uzbekistan in the west, Afghanistan in the south and China in the east. The modern state of Tajikistan was formed during the Soviet Union, supposedly by the hand of Stalin himself. First, it was created as an autonomous soviet republic within Uzbekistan. In 1929, the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic was made a separate constituent republic, but predominantly Tajik populated cities, such as Samarqand and Bukhara remained in Uzbekistan. Today, Tajikistan is a 25-year-old independent state. As a newly independent country, it endured a violent civil war, which ended in 1997 when the peace agreement was signed between the government and the opposition group. The economy of the country, which is highly agrarian and cotton based, was highly effected by the war.
Traditionally, men were the breadwinners in the family and women were responsible for household management. Today, there are many families where both men and women work and the tendency is that women becoming for the first time the breadwinners of the family. The reasons for that are complicated but mostly because male population is on labour migration (more on this in my future blogs). Many women, especially in the rural areas, use their skills of making wonderful handmade artefacts, which were passed from generation to generation. In this way Tajiks want to preserve national traditions, heritage and unique culture.
Even today, with globalisation and westernisation of many countries, Tajik women wear their traditional colourful Ikat design and embroiled dresses with trousers in every day life, while Tajik men wear a hat called toqi with a chapan, which is a coat adorned with intricate threading and which comes in a variety of colours and patterns. During weddings, and other such festive celebrations, colourful clothing of both men and women strengthen the spirit of joy and happiness.
Tajik people are very hospitable. Guests are viewed as blessings from the God. It is believed that the more guests you have the more barakah (blessings) God will send to the household. Although one of the poorest countries in the Central Asia, Tajiks are a nation that finds joy in everything. To experience it, you just need to see this wonderful country – come visit us!
Contributor to my first introductory blog is my dear friend Gulru Nabieva. I would like to thank her for that! Rahmat!