Some peculiarities of Uzbek culture
Sorry for the lull in posts, I’ve been traveling around quite a bit, and haven’t had time to stop and put up a post. I finished my Uzbek course a few days ago, so I thought I’d post some fascinating aspects of Uzbek culture. These are just the ones I could remember from class, I’m sure there are plenty more.
It is unacceptable for the youngest brother to move out of his parents house, ever. When he gets married, his wife moves in with his parents and they live there. On the upside, the house is the younger son’s birthright, not the older brother’s.
It is unacceptable to bring odd-numbered loaves of bread to someones house, unless it is a house of mourning, in which case it is unacceptable to bring even-numbered loaves.
Uzbek days of mourning are commemorated at 7, 20, and 40 days after a person’s death. However, one full day and one full night are counted as 2 days, so really it is at 4 days, 10 days, and 20 days. Following the 40th “day” one can stop wearing black. This system of counting days applies only to mourning.
It is considered an insult to bring spicy food to your hosts’ home as a gift.
One never refers to a friend’s wife directly by saying ‘your wife.’ Instead, a series of euphemisms are used based on the age of the couple. If you are speaking to an older man, it is “my mother in law” (to mean ‘your wife’) if it is a younger man, “my sister-in-law.”
So to ask, ‘how is your wife?” you would say “how is my sister-in-law?” Women also have similar euphemisms to refer to their husbands. “Your brother,” “Your uncle” or simply “that person.” (seriously.)
Whistling inside the house will bring misfortune.
So will letting the neighbor borrow salt after dark.
The Central Asian Shepherd in Uzbek translates as “Wolf Cruncher”.
If one has twins, they are always named Hasan and Husan for boys, Fatima and Zuhra for girls. The order corresponds to their birth order, so Hasan and Fatima are always “older”. If one has twins of different genders the order remains in place, so Hasan and Zuhra, Fatima and Husan would be the correct naming scheme.