Religious Practices in the Modern Ceremonial Lives of the Kyrgyz People

in Anthropology of the Middle East
Author:
Aidarbek Sulaimankulovich KochkunovInstitute of Ethnology and Anthropology at the Russian Academy of Sciences aidar.k@mail.ru

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This article is an ethnographic exploration of three topics regarding the practice of religion in contemporary Kyrgyzstan that provides insights into the spiritual life of Kyrgyz people in local communities. The topics are features of religiosity as expressed in rituals, the nature of personal and shared beliefs inherent in the performance of ceremonies, and the influence of religious identity on relationships among family, kin groups and communities. Through extensive research about religion and ritual in various areas of Kyrgyzstan, changes over time are examined. Although at times the differences among people adhering to more traditional versus the more newly emerging Islamic approaches to death ceremonies and monuments may cause conflict among relatives, in general such rituals and markers provide opportunities for social integration and common identity.

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