April 29, 2018. The village of Tokmаk (74 km east of Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan) …Our TV crew arrived too late. We missed a vital episode for our TV documentary: the unique traditional preparation for an ancient wedding ceremony was over.
The star attraction of the episode WEDDING DAY ONE was 18-year-old Radziya Umarova proudly wearing her stunningly beautiful red bridal wedding dress. Her carbon black hair decorated with flowers enchanced the high contrast with her pale face. She was just about to cast the last glance at herselself in the mirror, admiring her just finished in an intricate traditional hairstyle ‘lova’ (‘crow’).
My crew entered a separate room for female Dungans crowded with girls and women. Some of them were sitting on a ‘kana’ (a high Dungan couch) watching the bride in admiration. Little girls were running around, making a lot of noise.
I had to use all possible arguments. including financial, to have the bride’s hair done up again for us. Luckily, the bride had a few hours to relax before the next part of the ceremony. So, Radziya sat still once again on the ‘kana’ and waited patiently while Rosa, a hairstylist, carefully disentangled the ‘lova’ and combed Radziya’s thick black hair again. Silence settled over the room. Showtime!
Within the next hour or so a new elaborate ‘lova’ was made and decorated with silver and gold jewelry as well as even more flowers. Now it looked as if a whole cherry ochard covered her head with blooms. Continue reading