Beshik toy – the ceremony of putting a newly-born child into a cradle – is one of the most ancient traditions of Uzbek people, which dates back centuries, and is probably one of the favourite and most keenly-awaited family occasions in Uzbekistan. Traditionally, the ceremony is held to mark the birth of the first child forty days after her or his birth. The family of the newborn’s father offer a big feast, which is mainly attended by women. The baby’s grandparents on the maternal side prepare a beautifully decorated cradle and other presents for the child and his parents, as well as bread, sweets and cakes, all wrapped up in gorgeous dasturkhans, or tablecloths. All the presents are loaded on a bus and cars and, together with the guests, arrive at the newborn’s home to the sounds of carnays and surnays, traditional national musical instruments.
While all the guests enjoy the feast, elderly women perform the rite of placing the child into beshik (the cradle) and teach the new mother how to prepare the cradle for a child.
At the end of the ceremony the guests are invited to see the child and offer their best wishes. They give the newborn’s mother their gifts and spread traditional sweets on the cradle, wishing that the child’s life may be full of health, happiness and prosperity.