Hospitality is one of the main features of Uzbek culture. Uzbek families value hospitality higher than the wealth of a table and prosperity of the family. It is considered a disgrace to the family not to receive a guest. Hosts greet their guests at the gate then invite them inside. The head of the family usually seats the guests around the table, and the most honored guests are seated away from the entrance.

It is rare for Uzbek people to decline an invitation. It is expected to provide a valid explanation for declining an invitation. It is also a common practice to bring a small gift to the host to show respect and appreciation.

In general, a large number of people are invited to important events, such as weddings, anniversaries, etc. Many different types of traditional food are prepared and served during these events. It is considered polite to taste every dish that is served by the host at these events. Any meal starts and ends with tea drinking. Meals usually begin with baked goods, sweets, and fried fruit, followed by liquid foods then main meals. Pilaf is usually served last and it is indicative of the end of the ceremony.

Tea serving

The host of the house usually serves the tea. It is a traditional element of hospitality that a peculiarly small amount of tea should be poured: the more honored the guest, the less amount of tea is in their cup. The simple explanation of this custom is such that the more the guest asks the host for tea the better. It is a sign of respect to the house. If tea remains in the bottom of the cup, the host pours it out and fills the cup with fresh tea. 

Language points:

Here are some expressions and phrases used by a host and a guest:


Table/ tablecloth

Biznikiga kelinglar

Please come to our place

Xush kelibsizlar!


To’rga chiqing

Please sit at the head of the table

Olinglar, yeb o’tiringlar

Please help yourselves

Choydan iching

Please have some tea

Bayramlarni yaxshi o’tkazib oldingizmi?

Did you have a nice celebration?

Osh bo’lsin

Bon appetite

Rahmat, juda mazali bo’libdi

Thank you, it is very delicious

To’ydim, rahmat

I am quite full. Thank you!

Taklif uchun katta rahmat

Thank you for inviting me

… uzatib yuboring iltimos

Please pass the …


May I?

Language practice:

Compare Uzbek tradition of hosting to one in your own culture