Uzbek Tales Pt. 6: Weddings in Khiva, Uzbekistan

When we were in Khiva, Uzbekistan, we landed up eating dinner at a wedding party and on the second day we danced on the streets of Khiva. We had an absolutely awesome time and to this day Khiva holds special memories for us.

Wedding Couple - Khiva, Uzbekistan
Wedding Couple on Parade in Khiva

We arrived in Khiva in the dead of winter. The Lonely Planet said that when travelling in Uzbekistan in the winter, Uzbekistan is yours. For most of the trip we had bumped into one or two other travellers, but in the ancient walled city Khiva, we were the only ones. Needless to say all the restaurants were shut and most of the guest houses were shut too. We had met an English teacher and her students and we were wondering through the streets late on Saturday night looking for something to eat when we saw a huge party going on. Our new friends told us that it was a wedding party. So me being me, dragged everything and everyone along to look. I poked my head through the door to see what was going on and before we knew it Queenie, myself and our Uzbek friends were dragged into the hall sat behind a table, plov was served for us and vodka shots were flowing my way. What an awesome experience!

Khiva Bride
The Bride

Wedding Banquet - Khiva, Uzbekistan
The Banquet

The wedding was alive with a live band playing Central Asian music and a dancer. All the men at our table (and they were all men except for Queenie and the English teacher and students, took to us immediately and started downing vodka shots with me. Little were we to know that later in the evening we were to dance and I was to give a speech. We were later told that weddings actually go on for three days and this party we were in was the brides sending off party (the groom wasn't present) and that the groom and bride would be joined the following day so we didn't actually get to see the wedding ceremony.

Khiva Wedding Belly Dancer
The Wedding Dancer

Wedding Dancing - Khiva, Uzbekistan
Queenie Dancing

On the second day in Khiva we were wandering between the old mud buildings of the town when we stumbled accross a couple of wedding parades(see picture at the top). The bride, the groom and their entire entourage walks with them through the streets of the town to show the world they are married. We saw two entourages. The first thing we noticed was the flimsy dresses the brides were wearing. This is significant because it was FREEZING (close to 0C). If you compare what Queenie was wearing in the video below you will actually notice the difference in attire. The second think that completely blew us away was that both groups stopped outside the music museum in Khiva and out of nowhere music started and people danced in the streets.

Wedding Dancers - Khiva, Uzbekistan
Dancing in the Street

Wedding Dancers - Khiva, Uzbekistan
Dancing in the Streets

Both the sending away party and the wedding parades are showed in the video below. We hope you enjoy.

These two events made our time in Khiva unforgettable. It would not have been possible without the hospitality and the open hearts of the people there. We thank them from the bottom of our hearts.

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