Rules of visiting and worshipping at sacred sites

This text was published in the book ‘Mazar Worship in Kyrgyzstan: Rituals and Practitioner in Talas’ by Aigine, Bishkek, 2007. Translated from Kyrgyz.

·  A person who visits sacred sites must know the Quran;

·  One must visit having bathed and purified oneself;

·  One should thank God and bring jeti tokoch (q.v.) and other food depending on her/his economic well- being;

·  One must not come to a sacred place to rest or drink alcohol, smoke, have sexual intercourse, etc.;

·  One must visit mazar with a pureness of belief and intentions;

·  One must take care of sacred places; clean the surrounding of it for good deed (soopchuluk);

·  One must not visit mazar with the head uncovered;

·  One must conduct rituals, pray, asking good things, and read the Quran;

·  One must visit a sacred place believing in its sacredness and must be grateful to it;

·  When one visits a mazar, if there is charity box a visitor should leave money depending on his/her financial situation for good deed;

According to the Participants of Seminers Following Things are Forbidded:

·  Polluting the surrounding of a mazar, especially cracking sunflower seeds because after that people throw leftovers;

·  Doing bad and dirty things like drinking alcohol, smoking, having sexual intercourse, saying bad words;

·  Taking away things belonging to a mazar;

·  It is forbidden for women to visit sacred sites during menstruating cycle;

·  Using firearms, which means the sound of firearms must not be heard;

·  Coming with uncovered head, and for women wearing pants or jeans, and showing body parts except hands and face;

·  Damaging the mazar’s environment and changing the surrounding nature;

·  Remove or break that which belongs to the mazars;

·  Tying ribbons to branches of trees in mazars. When we asked why it is forbidden to tie ribbons to the branches, the participants of the seminar explained that the spiritual patron of the mazar chokes;