08 June 2012

Something to Love in Kyrgyzstan a Day: Archa (Juniper)

Juniper (archa in Kyrgyz) is an important tree in Kyrgyzstan.  The women in the photo is carrying burning branches at a wedding.  The man in the photo doesn't look like he's enjoying it much, but it's traditional to carry burning branches around the room or house like this, possibly before a wedding, or maybe at Nooruz, or when a yurt is set up, or when someone is sick, or at other times.  You don't see juniper for sale everywhere, but it's easy to find in Bishkek, and it grows all over the place outside Bishkek.

Juniper wood also can be used to make beshiks like the one in the photo yesterday, or musical instruments, or coffins.  You'll also notice that some of the sacred sites I posted two days ago are marked by juniper trees.

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