WHERE MEN HUNT WITH THEIR BIRDS

 

The Birds of Prey Festival in Bokonbaevo is a festival devoted to falconry with golden eagles, a bird which is revered by the Kyrgyz people. It is the largest and most famous festival of its kind in the country. Since ancient times hunters in the area have caught young chicks and taken them home, to bring and train them to hunt animals. In the past one bird of prey could support a small settlement. Hence a golden eagle was highly esteemed and treated as a member of the family. People who become skilled in the art of training these birds are called "Burkutchu" and "Kushchu." They are still highly respected in their communities.

 

Aside from hunting demonstrations, the festival includes a folklore concert. Singing and dancing are still an important part of Kyrgyz culture. Bokonbaevo's folklore group features the areas' finest musicians singing and playing the komuz, Krygyzstan's three-stringed instrument, the ooz komuz, a small metal mouth harp, and other traditional instruments.