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Kupchegen

On our last night in Altai we stayed with relatives of our trip leader in his home village of Kupchegen. They showed us very warm hospitality, including a formal welcoming ceremony in their beautiful ail (wooden version of a yurt), in which we were each presented in turn with a bowl of kefir to drink from.

Our trip leader's brother was getting married the next day. We were unable to stay for the wedding, but we witnessed some of the last-minute preparations. Regardless of how busy they were, the women of the groom's family graciously fed us in their ceremonial ail on the morning of the wedding, while the men prepared the 12 sheep that had been slaughtered for the occasion.
Before we left, they honored us with the local custom of tying sashes around the waist of visitors; the custom arose because fabric was always highly valued here and a gift of fabric is meant to bring good luck and happiness.