Hospitality Traditions in Uzbekistan
Hospitality is one of Uzbekistan features. Hospitality in Uzbek families is appreciated higher than the wealth of a table and prosperity of the family. Not to receive a guest means to disgrace the family, kin and makhalla.
Hosts welcome esteemed guests at the gate. As a rule, men shake hands to each other and show their interest in each-other's health, business and other things. It is appropriate to greet women with slight bow, attaching right hand over the heart.
Then guests are invited inside and to the most honorable seats at the table, or dastarkhan in Uzbek. By the ancient custom men and women should seat at the separate tables, but this custom is preserved in whole only in suburbs. The head of the family himself seats guests round the table, and the most honored guests are seated away from the entrance.
Any meal begins and ends with tea drinking. At the beginning the table is served with sweets, baked goods, dried fruits, nuts, fruits and vegetables, then it is served with snacks and at the end – with pilaf or other festal dish.
The host of the house pours the tea. The traditional element of hospitality is the peculiar small amount of tea to be poured: the more honored guest, the less amount of tea is in his cup. This custom is explained in such way: the more guest asks the host for more, the better. It is the sign of respect to the house. If tea is remained in the bottom of the piala, the host pours it out and again fills piala with tea.