• Iran!

    Iran: Details on a Mosque. Go Now!

    Iran
    Iran is home to a unique language, culture, foods, and history. Even within the Middle East Iran is unlike any other country. Explore Iran!

  • Bangladesh!

    Bangladesh: Traditional houses. Go Now!

    Bangladesh
    This low-lying country has historic ties to India and Pakistan, but today maintains a wholly unique culture. Explore Bangladesh!

  • Indonesia!

    Indonesia: Lombok. Go Now!

    Indonesia
    This archipelago nation is culturally diverse from big cities to isolated islands. Begin Your Journey!

  • Mongolia!

    Mongolia: Desert. Go Now!

    Mongolia
    This vast country has a culture that spans past and present... a nomadic life shifting to a modern & sedentary society. Begin Your Journey!

  • Kyrgyzstan!

    Kyrgyzstan: Tian Shan Mountains. Go Now!

    Kyrgyzstan
    The mountains, including the Tian Shan Mountains (pictured), give Kyrgyzstan a unique culture, partially formed from this isolation from the mountains. Go Now!

Social Life in Tajikistan

Behavior

According to Islamic dietary restrictions pork should not be consumed and alcohol is forbidden (see our Tajikistan Dining & Food Page). In Tajikistan the restriction on pork is closely adhered to, but partially due to convenience as lamb, chicken, and even beef are more common. For the locals, alcohol is now a part of the daily life as the Soviets introduced numerous drinks to the people and today it forms a part of the culture; only the strictest Muslims refrain from drinking alcohol.

To a degree the people also maintain the Soviet mentality as they rarely get involved in other people's personal affairs and tend to keep to themselves when in public. Due to this attitude, the people take offense at few things. Although everyone will notice odd behaviors and cultural abnormalities, rarely will anyone point out your cultural mistakes.

Additionally, avoid sensitive conversation topics, such as politics, finances, religion, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart. Also try to avoid being loud, rude, showing off wealth, or getting noticeably drunk in public.

Dress

For the local Tajik, the dress can indicate where a person is from, plus additional information about the individual. However, for the tourist these subtle differences will likely be missed. There are many commonalities across the people though as most women wear a loose-fitting dress and pants while men tend to wear loose-fitting shirts and pants with boots. Both men and women also tend to wear various styles of hats. Beyond these generalities, the specifics move in numerous directions as colors and styles vary.

Today the traditional dress is still worn in many villages and at many important events and celebrations, but many young people and city-dwellers have turned away from this traditional dress in favor of more western-styled clothing. Although western-styled clothing is now the norm in many places, the people generally still cover up as the people are primarily Muslim and many people cover their elbows and knees.

Despite this somewhat conservative dress, for many people it is due to social norms and weather, not religion. Due to a long period under Soviet rule and their banning of religion, most rules and restrictions dictated by Islam have fallen into the past, although some are still followed quite closely, especially by more conservative Muslims. So wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts is acceptable, although you may get some strange looks. However, if in Mosques long pants must be worn, women must cover their hair, and everyone should have their shoulders and knees covered. Elsewhere, only the most devout Muslims feel required to cover their hair, although in some areas there is a small religious resurgence.

This page was last updated: November, 2013