In Tajikistan, festivals have seen a marked increase in quality and number in recent years due to NGO funding and the absence of war. While before most Tajik festivals centered on religious holidays, now there are a host of other events celebrating film, song and Pamiri culture.
Nawruz: 20-22 March. Nawruz is Central Asia’s New Year celebration, on the spring equinox. In Tajikistan, it is celebrated with holiday dishes such as plov and the labour-intensive sumalak, prepared only by women stirring the pot day and night, chatting, singing and dancing. Dushanbe holds celebrations and Hissar is the locus of a big buzkashi and gushtingiri (local brand of wrestling) festival.
Roof of the world Festival (Bam-i Dunya): Khorog, somewhere in July. Held in the Khorog city park, this is a celebration of Pamiri customs as well as an international song and dance festival with artists from all over Central Asia. There is no official website for the festival, so to find out when it will be held, contact tourism operators in Khorog.
At Chabysh: Murghab, July. Well-known At Chabysh festival featuring a long distance horse race, buzkashi and other horse games, concerts, poetry contest, handicrafts exhibition, yurt village and more. Part of the festival is held at Peak Lenin base camp, Kyrgyzstan. Trip report here.
Didor Film Festival: October, Dushanbe. Originally conceived as a Persian movie festival, it has now expanded its scope to take in Russian and European movies. There is no website, so check with tourism officials or local media to find out when it is held.
Orozo Ait: Date changes. Called Eid Al-Fitr in the Arabic world, this celebration ends Ramadan with tasty food. Tajiks and Uzbeks take Ramadan more seriously than Kyrgyz, Turkmen and Kazakhs.
Kurban Ait: Date changes. Called Eid Al-Adha in the Arabic world, on this Muslim holiday it is traditional to go to mosque, sacrifice a sheep and give meat to the poor.
Falak Festival: Dushanbe, around 8-12 October. Falak Day is celebrated on October 12, but the international Falak festival is usually held a bit before that day. Falak is a type of sung poetry typical for Southern Tajikistan. Usually falak is performed with the accompaniment of musical instruments such as dutar (dumbrak), string-bow instrument (gijak) and wind instrument (tutak).