06 June 2012

Something to Love in Kyrgyzstan a Day: Votive Trees

You'll see trees like this as you travel around Kyrgyzstan. They can mark the site of a spring or another natural feature, or possibly where someone was killed in an accident (in the same way you'd see a cross next to a highway in the US), or they can be there for no immediately apparent reason unless you're with someone who knows about it. 

I don't know that "votive tree" is the best word for them, but I don't know what they are called in Kyrgyz or any other Turkic language.

This site has an interesting listing of sacred sites in Kyrgyzstan. 

A couple of months after I came here the first time, I wrote this: "It seems to me that the 5 Pillars of Islam (declaration of faith, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and pilgrimage to Mecca) are largely unnoticeable, but the older, shamanistic practices have remained."  I still mostly think that's true, but I think part of why that is true is that outward expression of standard Islam isn't common and sometimes is unacceptable here for a wide variety of reasons, but outward expression of older traditions that Kyrgyz Muslims do, but not Arab Muslims, is acceptable.

Anyway, I love to see trees like this. 

1 comment:

  1. We went to an old abbey in Ireland with a spring that had appeared through the intercession of a saint, and it had a tree just like that. How interesting!