Amazing nomads » Nomads
Kyrgyz are ancient nomads, succeeded to preserve integrity of the culture and ethnic originality for many centuries.
The outstanding Russian scientist, specialist in Turkic philology academician Radlov was the first who wrote about Kyrgyz people in Russian language. His work was written in 1863, but still has great interests even nowadays. He presented his own impressions when he first time visited places where Kyrgyz people lived.
In 5th century Kyrgyz people lived along the bank of Yenisei River. At that time Kyrgyz were blond hair people with blue eyes. Because of this some scientist guessed that Kyrgyz were Indo-European originally. Later Kyrgyz lost their previous appearances as blond people with blue eyes probably because of Mongols people who had a high influence on all tribes in 13 century.Kyrgyz people stayed as a warlike nation. For instance other nations could live separately. On the contrary Kyrgyz people located their yurts in one valley and made a line with big number of yurts. There were not yurts located separately. When enemy was appearing, thousands of Kyrgyz warriors were ready for fighting. The main reason why Kyrgyz survived was the way of their life - tribalism.
A usual ancient Kyrgyz was gloomy, severe and tough. At that time hospitality was sacred for them. They had a saying "a guest is sent from God. Even if he stays for a while, he will see a lot".
From the very childhood children were taught to be active and to be able to protect themselves. Laziness and idleness were blamed. Boys were taught to ride a horse from their early three or four years. It was very important for nomads. They lived on the territory of Kyrgyzstan and they had to travel from one place to another for many times during one year.
Rich person did not look differ from poor person as well as lord from servant. All of them had identical upbringing, level of maturity of mind, similar garments. Rich people just had bigger yurts and more adornments on the garments.
The Kyrgyz people were nomads and their preferable but not the only activity was stock raising. They used stocks for several reasons. First of all it was their food. Kyrgyz usually eat meat of sheep, but on holidays and in cases of sacrificing they eat horses. Camels were also in their stocks, but there were few of them. Kyrgyz people had shoes made of camel skin and warm clothes were always made of its wool.
In summer nomads used to be in mountains and in winter they lived in valleys. More that 90% of Kyrgyzstan are mountains and they had a lot of space to live.
The day of going from one place to another was set by the Biy or Chief Manap and was divulged to the whole tribe. They had a saying "If one family stays, it will never find the tribe", that's why this days were never delayed accept the cases when someone in a tribe died. But anyway even this sometimes could not stop them, they could just take the body with them to bury it during some pause in their journey. After arriving to a new place, they were erecting their portable houses - yurts. It was a very comfortable dwelling. It took people only an hour to erect or collapse it. And they needed just three or four horses to take it to another place.
They are Muslim and they do not eat pork. Polygamy is a usual thing for them but their women do not close faces from men. They have natural abilities to music with vast numbers songs. A lot of their neighbor tribes were inviting them to different holidays. The main their occupation was stock-raising. They bred basically horses, camels, sheep, goats, and large horned livestock. The agriculture was for them on the second place. In places of their being in winter on the lake Issik Kul they had small arable lands where workers lived and the basic part of people was wandering in mountains. Workers received a payment for the work with cattle instead of money. The received crop served as livelihood during winter time. They produced thick felt and made tissues from camel's wool. Kyrgyz people used to get all necessary goods by trade. In exchange for sheep they could receive silk and cotton tissues, some clothes.
Principles of tribalism formed in the gregarious epoch of mankind. People had to survive in terrible conditions of life struggling with different threats, by uniting into collectives, based on blood relationship, clans. Some clans united in one area and formed a tribe.