Trans Eurasia travel

Your virtual guide to Eurasia! Let's travel together!

Wedding traditions


Down below in the courtyard, the wedding party was revving up. There must have been two hundred or three hundred guests sitting at tables under the leafy grape arbor. Before them were bottles of vodka, beer, and soft drinks. There were tables for men, tables for women, and one long table for children. The half of the courtyard near the head table was for the family, who sat with the men and women together. A popular Turkmen band called Akysh was playing Central Asian rock with an electric keyboard, electric bass guitar, and drums. Their shouting songs sounded like Muslim prayers set to a fluid Oriental rhythm.

Then the bride emerged from the house, her head and shoulders covered in a bloodred carpet, and led by the mothers, aunts, and grandmothers. She would remain covered, according to Turkmen custom, through the whole affair, like a veiled statue, not eating, not drinking, not dancing. I wondered what it would be like, in years to come, when a Turkmen wife remembered her wedding day. Would she experience her own marriage like a wood floor under a Teke carpet?

Sacred Horses: The Memoirs of a Turkmen Cowboy by Jonathan Maslow