A feast of salty tea and lungs fit for newlyweds

All the inhabitants of the Ulupamir village near Van come from Kyrgyzstan.

It’s not Central Asia, but there is a taste of the Tian Shan Mountains in the eastern province of Van, which is home to a village of transplanted Kyrgyz, Ulupınar. Like everyone else in Turkey, the residents of Ulupınar love a wedding, albeit with their own culinary traditions Four years ago, just before the elections, I was making a program about Turkish villagers and how they thought about politics. It was then that I visited Ulupamir village near Van for the first time. Ulupamir is not just another Turkish village but a new village, all of whose inhabitants come from Kyrgyzstan. About three months ago Mustafa Pamir phoned me. I didn’t have an idea who he was until he explained to me that we met four years ago. Slowly I started remembering him again. Pamir was going to get married and he wanted to invite me to come to his wedding ceremony. A Kyrgyz wedding is different from a Turkish wedding, he told me, so maybe it would be nice to see an authentic wedding.

The wedding would last for three days. The first two days people were constantly preparing food for all the guests who would come for the wedding. When I arrived, Pamir was already waiting for me in front of his parents’ house.

“I am terribly sorry; I wanted to fetch you from the entrance of the village but it is forbidden for me to leave the house. If the in-laws catch me somewhere here in the village then the wedding will be canceled. This is one of the many traditions we have during our wedding. Fortunately, there is always an escape plan. In my case, if they see me, I have to start some serious negotiations. The family of my future bride does want a bribe in order to forget about my mistake. This can be a yak, camel, horse, cow or sheep. In my case I...

Continue reading on: