Tajik School Alphabet Ceremony

Figure 1.--Here are some of the boys and girls in the Alphabet Ceremony dressed in their Takik ceremonial clothes. Image courtesy of William Fergusson.

There is a special celebration in Tajikistan school children. It is one that only kindergarten children experience. The festival celebrates a child's mile stone in learning. The time they learnt the alphabet. Often the alphabet they celebrate learning is the Russian one. However it can also be about learning the English alphebet as well. The Alphebet Ceremony is an important celebration in the education of children and marks the beginning of their break through into literacy. It is a ceremony which the childen will never forget.

Special Event

It is a very exciting festival which is held at the child's school. Parents are invited as are all the school teachers and older brothers and sisters come to watch the event and share their younger cybling's special day.

The Ceremony

The ceremony lasts about an hour in which the children say the alphabet in verse rhyme and song. There are traditional Tajik dances which both boys and girls dance. There are also short skits or little plays. These tend to be of a humourous theme and make the audience laugh. Children sing nursery rhymes. Older children take part too and they play traditional instruments such as drums.

Ceremonial Costume

The children dress in ceremonial costume. For the boys this is a an ornate persian hat, a long ornate patterned velvet jacket with matching trousers. These can be in a variety of colours but black material is the popular colour. There are no buttons to fasten the jacket. The trousers are held in place by a belt. The jacket is fastened by having a sash tied around the middle. There are matching leather boots. The sides done in the same patterning as the jacket.


Each child wears a different letter of the alphebet on their costume which they take very seriously. Each considers himself an expert on that letter. These are colourful letters showing the Russian alphebet. The letter M in the picture is the Russian letter for 'T'. The Russian 'M' has curley tails at the bottom of the letter.


At the end of the Alphabet ceremony each child is given a present. This can be anything the school decides to give. In past years this has been a toy car for boys and a doll for girls. This year the present was a Tajik story book which was told in three languages Russian, Tajik and English. The children also recieved a pencil case and coloured pencils.


When the ceremony was concluded the children attended a banquet in their honour. Here traditional food was served. This consisted of pastries, biscuits,cakeand nuts. A rice dish called Plov is served with bread. This is broken by one person who passes a piece to everyone on the table. The dishes of Plov serve 4 people. Each take a section and eat their fill from the cumunial plate. The meal is completed when fresh fruit and fruit drinks are had. Here we see one of the boys in a beautifully embroidered traditional outfit and matching headwear.

William Fergusson


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Created: 4:53 AM 3/22/2005
Last updated: 4:53 AM 3/22/2005