The festival of “Shirge Jyyar” in Talas Oblast

On 2-3 September, 2017, the Federation of Bio-KG held a festival dedicated to the protection of the environment and the preservation of the ancestral heritage in the village of Kopuro-Bazar in the Talas region. The organisations involved in projects for the protection of nature and the environment, as well as the preservation of traditional knowledge, such as Rural Development Fund, Kyrgyz El Akyl Kazyna (KEAK), Lesik-Yug, Bio-Muras, ADI, and AGOCA, were also present at the festival. This festival was a part of implementing projects using the support of the Christensen Fund, which for many years has been helping many countries of the world to preserve their rich biodiversity and their cultural heritage.

On the first day, representatives of the Christensen Fund visited the Kopure Bazar organic area on the way to the festival and enjoyed a concert organized by the local community and participants of the event. Members of KEAK in Talas Oblast demonstrated the national games and traditional activities in exhibition facilities to the festival guests. These traditional games and activities included Salbuurun, traditional game-hunting with eagles and dogs with Jaa-atuu, archery, performed by a team member of the World Nomadic Games of munushkera, eagle trainer, a Kyrgyz Taigan dog, Kuttubek, from Ozgorush village of Bakai-Ata region, and a member of the Salbuurun Federation. Children and some KEAK members from the local community hosted a master class on several games, such as Top TashChuko, and Jazdyk Chapmay. Children enjoyed playing national games, and adults watched them with great joy.

The memebers of the children’s educational camp, the Friends of Zhibi, produced a theatrical play about a lonely badge and a snow leopard cub, Zhibi. The story of the lonely badger is an original story created by children during the camp organized by the RDF within the framework of the project, “Snow leopard is a part of the biological and cultural heritage of the Kyrgyz”. Children repeatedly spoke of the camp experience, and we received very good feedback from them. The experience gave them an incentive to enhance the capacity of the camp participants to create the Friends of Zhibi Children’s Club, and to pursue further with conservation effort through various activities.

The second day of the festival took place in a more picturesque area outside of the village filled with birch groves, all the festival activities and exhibition followed the festival outdoors. The representatives of the Christensen Fund carefully observed the exhibitions of all the organisations, listened to their presentations, and watched the traditional handicraft products and the artisanal creativities, organic products, stands on RDF project activities and master classes on traditional nomadic cuisine prepared by KEAK . The guests of the Festival were also offered the rituals of Kyrgyz KochuDyikan BatasiTushoo Kesuu, as well as classes on Elechik Oooo with a demonstration of the variants of national clothes of the Kyrgyz from Kiyiz duino and beautiful musical pieces from Ustat-shakirt.

In the afternoon a round table discussion on “Traditional Culture and Development of Local Communities” was held, in which the representatives of the Christensen Fund, and representatives of local communities participated. They discussed current issues and prospects for development and spirituality in the local community life in Kyrgyzstan. During the meeting, the guests of the Festival, residents of the local community, representatives of the Christensen Fund had an opportunity to express their opinions, listen to suggestions from partners for further improvement, share experiences and lessons learnt, and they concluded the event with great thanks its organizers.