National Holidays, Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan is a large multinational country which is rich with its both old traditions and new ones acquired for the period of Independence. The Republic of Kazakhstan observes international holidays such as New Year, 8 March but it also has holidays specific only for this country such as Unity Day, Capital Day etc.
All the holidays of Kazakhstan may be divided into national, state and professional ones. The national holidays are held in honor of the events having a special historical importance for the development of independent Kazakhstan. Celebration of the national holidays is accompanied with holding of official events. Such holiday is considered Independence Day of Kazakhstan.
The state holidays are devoted to the events having social and political importance, they also include traditional Kazakh holidays. This category of the holidays includes New Year, 8 March, Nauryz, Unity Day, Capital Day, Constitution Day etc.
In addition to these holidays Kazakhstan has another type of holidays – professional ones celebrated by some categories of citizens:
• Fatherland Defender’s Day – 7 May
• Political Repression Victims Memory Day -31 May
• The Republic of Kazakhstan National Symbols’ Day – 4 June
• Police Day – 23 June
• Health Professionals’ Day (third Sunday of June)
• Press, Television and Radio Day (last Sunday of June)
• Diplomatic Service Day - 2 July
• Tax Service Day – 6 July
• Metal-Maker’s Day (third Sunday of July)
• Transport and Communication Workers’ Day (first Sunday of August)
• Builders’ Day – (second Sunday of August)
• Sports Day (third Sunday of August)
• Miner’ Day (last Sunday of August)
• Knowledge Day – 1 September
The holidays of national and state nature are days off for the whole Kazakhstan population. These days Kazakhstan holds open-air merrymaking and official events. Various festive events and festive concerts with participation of both Kazakhstan and foreign stars are arranged for the country’s population.
Nauryz is a very important holiday for Kazakhs, which marks the beginning of a new year. It is celebrated several days starting from 21st of March, the day of the spring equinox.
Nauryz means ‘new day’, it is celebrated in the Great Steppes from ancient times.
Nauryz symbolizes goodness and wealth, happiness and love and a great friendship day, since this holiday is common for many nations.
During Nauryz celebrations, past offences are forgiven and forgotten and everybody makes a wish to leave all badness behind and bring renewal in the New Year.
Celebration of Nauryz
During the Nauryz holiday, large and small cities, villages become festival centres, feltyurts – traditional nomad houses are erected in city centres and rich dastarkhan (table) is laid down in each of them.
City squares get full of yurts, and many performances take place there. Here one can learn about the culture and lifestyle of nomads and find people wearing beautiful national clothes, listen to Kazakh songs and play of musical instruments, etc. In holiday exhibitions and fairs traditional gifts and souvenirs are sold.
Usually young people gather around Altybakan, which is a large hanging swing, with colourful decorations, where songs are sung, and traditional games are played.
During Nauryz holiday, many famous stars give concerts in cities and the holiday is completed by fireworks.
Dishes served during Nauryz
Nauryz kozhe is the most important of all meals during these days and a main symbol of Nauryz, since it is prepared specially for this day. Nauryz kozhe is special for its unique recipe.Traditionally, 7 different ingredients are added to Nauryz kozhe, which may vary, but basically these ingredients include: water, meat, salt, milk or yoghurt, one type of grains, chosen from rice, corn or wheat, and others. Seven ingredients symbolize seven virtues or qualities, such as joy, success, intelligence, health, wealth, agility and security.
During the celebration of Nauryz, the kozhe is offered to all guests in any city or village of Kazakhstan. Besides, other traditional Kazakh meals, such as beshbarmak, kuyrdak, baursak, and many types of meals made from milk (youghurt, kurt, cream, butter, cheese, etc) are also offered.
- Between 1926-1988, Nauryz holiday was not officially celebrated in Kazakhstan (Kazakh Soviet Socialistic Republic those days)
- In 2009 - 3 days of Nauryz holiday, starting 21th of March, were officially announced bank holidays in Kazakhstan.
- September 30, 2009 – Nauryz was included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO; since then, 21 of March is announced International Day of Nowruz (Nauryz).
Now enjoy a short clip about Nauryz celebrations from Steppe Tales travel documentary.