Kyrgyz in Kyrgyzstan

Population

4,031,000

Christian

Evangelical

Largest Religion

Main Language

Progress


The Kyrgyz and Dungan of Kyrgyzstan

Source Asia Harvest                                                Download

Introduction / History

Although they are related to the Kazakh and other Turkic peoples of the region, the Kyrgyz look very much like the Mongols. In fact, they are the people who most clearly resemble Genghis Khan. More than any other Central Asian people, the Kyrgyz have clung to their traditional way of life as nomadic cattle breeders. They have also maintained their tribal organization. Today, the Kyrgyz live in one of the highest plateaus of the world.

The name "Kyrgyz" means "the descendents of forty maidens." The Kyrgystan flag has forty sun rays to represent the Kyrgyz heritage.

Kyrgyzstan is home to more than eighty different ethnic groups. During its 72 years under Communist rule, the Kyrgyz population grew to four times its original size. Hundreds of towns and villages were built as many abandoned their traditional nomadic lifestyles. Nevertheless, the majority of the population is still rural.


What are Their Lives Like?

Since the land is generally unsuitable for farming, many of the rural Kyrgyz live as nomadic cattle breeders, following their herds from pasture to pasture. They depend entirely on their animals for survival. Fortunately, they have particularly hardy and adaptable breeds of sheep, goats, yaks, horses, and camels. The animals are used for both food and exchange. They also provide the only means of transportation.

The nomads travel as extended family units and live in portable felt tents, or yurts. The summers are short on the plateau, and there are only about 60 days in which the ground is not covered in snow. During this season, the families tend to camp close together. However, during the winter months, families live scattered away from each other so that they might best utilize the scarce grassland.

The Kyrgyz women enjoy more freedoms than do most other Central Asian women. For example, they are not required to wear veils. They are allowed to talk to men, and they may freely ride about on the grasslands. They work hard, and their position in the household is considered important and respected.

Women are held in high esteem once they are married. However, bride stealing is still in practice in the region. A young man may abduct a single woman off the streets and take her home. Once she has spent one night there, she is presumed to have lost her maidenhood and therefore is unwanted by other men in society. She becomes a "kelin" or a new bride for the first year and she is unable to even speak the name of her father-in-law. She is a live-in servant and expected to get pregnant within the first year. Once she has borne children, she moves up in status.

This practice is most common in rural areas, but sometimes women are stolen from the cities and taken to the villages.

The men devote themselves almost entirely to caring for the animals. They dress in baggy leather pants and coarse shirts. Outer coats made of cotton or wool are also worn. Embroidered felt skull caps are common; however, on important occasions, the wealthier men may wear tall steeple-crowned hats made of felt or velvet and embroidered with gold. Their favorite gear includes their belts, saddles, and bridles, which are sometimes covered with gold and precious stones. While the women dress in the same style clothing as the men, their shirts are usually longer and go all the way down to their heels.

Music, dance, and story telling are important parts of the Kyrgyz culture. Verbal folklore has been very well developed over the years. The Krygyz have the longest oral epic in the word entitled "Manas." It contains 100,000 lines of verse. Folk tales are often sung, accompanied by a three-stringed guitar called a dombra.

Among the men, hunting with the use of a golden eagle is very popular, and a well-trained eagle is quite valuable.


What are Their Beliefs?

The Kyrgyz were first introduced to Islam during the seventeenth century. Within two hundred years, the majority had been completely converted to Islam. Soviets were never able to change the Kyrgyz beliefs, even through they tried a number of methods including changing the alphabet, outlawing religious activity, and propaganda. In fact, since 1990, over 2000 new mosques have been built in Kyrgyzstan. Today, most Kyrgyz still consider themselves to be Muslim; however, some Shamanistic practices still exist. (Shamanism is the belief that there is an unseen world of many gods, demons, and ancestral spirits.) The people depend on shamans (priests or priestesses) to cure the sick by magic, communicate with the gods, and control events. Almost all Kyrgyz believers have to go through a breaking of demonic powers over their lives once they become Christians.


What are Their Needs?

Kyrgyzstan is currently in the throes of an economic crisis. This has led to a sharp drop in production, creating shortages of almost all consumer goods.

A Kyrgyz who becomes a Christian is seen as betraying his identity and family unity. Recently Kyrgyz Christians have faced opposition from Muslims, but with a new twist. Their new strategy is not to persecute Christians, but win them back to Islam through kindness, compassion, sympathy, and shame.


Prayer Points

* Pray that God will provide finances for training materials in the Kyrgyz language.
* Pray that the Kyrgyz people would renounce the forces of evil that possess them through the occult and demon worship.
* Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into Kyrgyzstan.
* Pray that God will raise up prayer teams to go and break up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Ask God to grant favor and wisdom to missions agencies focusing on the Kyrgyz.
* Pray for effectiveness of the Jesus film among the Kyrgyz.
* Ask God to anoint the Gospel as it goes forth via radio to the Kyrgyz.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften their hearts towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Kyrgyz.


Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2006-10-22
Global Prayer Digest: 2007-11-13
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-11-23
Global Prayer Digest: 2012-07-24
People Name General Kyrgyz (Kerr-geez)
People Name in Country Kyrgyz
Population in Kyrgyzstan 4,031,000
World Population 4,718,000
Countries 13
Progress Scale 1.2
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Kara, Ke'erkezi, Kirghiz, Kirgiz
Affinity Bloc Turkic Peoples
People Cluster Kyrgyz
People Name General Kyrgyz (Kerr-geez)
Ethnic Code MSY41g
Country Kyrgyzstan
Region Central Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Widespread
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Kyrgyz
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Kyrgyz
Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1982-1987)
New Testament Yes   (1991-2005)
Complete Bible Yes   (1995-2004)
Audio Bible Online
Category Resource
Audio Recordings Global Recordings
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Kyrgyz
Film / Video Kyrgyz Language Film
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
General Got Questions Ministry
Scripture Bible-in-Your-Language
Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2006-10-22
Global Prayer Digest: 2007-11-13
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-11-23
Global Prayer Digest: 2012-07-24

Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
0.25 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.09 %)
0.10 %
Ethnic Religions
0.25 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
97.40 %
Non-Religious
2.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
Anglican
0.0 %
Independent
35.0 %
Orthodox
20.0 %
Other Christian
2.0 %
Protestant
43.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Doc Kozzak   Creative Commons  
Map Source: Bethany World Prayer Center  
Video Source: Asia Harvest
Profile Source: GAAPNet: Updated original Bethany people profile 
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
Get Involved
Register ministry activity for this group

Copyright © 2014 Joshua Project.  A ministry of the U.S. Center for World Mission.