From ancient times, respectfulness, kindness and modesty have been distinctive features of the Kyrgyz people. When receiving guests in their homes, they never let them leave without having slaughtered a sheep and preparing besh barmak. For Kyrgyz people, Besh Barmak isn’t just an ordinary meal, it is a ceremony complete with its own traditions and customs.
A whole sheep is cut up and boiled in a kasan (iron pot) for a few hours until the soup from this pot is ready to be distributed. The oldest are presented with the first bones. To an old man, the thigh bone (jambash), to an old woman is given the fat tail (kuiruk). Next, the younger adults receive the bones of the arms legs and shoulders. The smaller bones are reserved for the daughter-in-law. Some young men immediately start dicing meat with knives and this meat is mixed with boiled noodles and eaten with the fingers (Kyrgyz besh barmak - five fingers). ‘Omen’ which is said at the end is thanks everybody renders to God.
The above was taken from the “Kyrgyz National Cuisine” pamphlet.
In the above picture we were invited back to one of the farmers houses whose land we had hunted over. Here they are dicing the meat ready for the “Five Fingered feast”.