The Kazakhs are a Turkic people who have led a nomadic lifestyle for many centuries, and today carefully preserves the traditions that were formed during constant moving. Some of the traditions and customs of the Kazakhs helped them survive in difficult conditions, others have a sacred meaning, all of them became the basis of the identity of the Kazakh people and the formation of their national culture.
The Kazakhs harmoniously combine modern cultural traditions with ancient customs, and the religious holidays of Muslims and Christians with national holidays established by law.
How public holidays in Kazakhstan are celebrated:
- New Year (January 1 and 2);
- International Women’s Day (March 8);
- Nauryz meiramy – the holiday of the arrival of spring (March 21);
- The holiday of the unity of the people of Kazakhstan (May 1). Celebrated since 1996;
- Defender of the Fatherland Day (May 7). The holiday is associated with the creation in the country in 1992 of the national armed forces;
- Victory Day (May 9);
- Day of the Capital (July 6). On this day in 1994, the capital of Kazakhstan was moved from Alma-Ata to Akmola;
- Constitution Day (August 30);
- Day of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan (December 1). The holiday was founded in honor of the recognition of the special achievements of Nursultan Nazarbayev.
- Republic Independence Day (December 16).
Many of the Kazakhs adhere to Islam, therefore, the religious holidays of Islam are honored in the camp.
The most significant can be considered:
- Kurban Ait. A three-day holiday celebrated on August 21st. On this day, it is customary to make a sacrifice in the form of a domestic animal (goat or ram).
- Night Raghaib. The date of the marriage of the parents of the Prophet Muhammad. It is celebrated on the first Friday of the month of Rajab.
- Rajab Bayram. Feast of the Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad. It is celebrated on the 27th of the month of Rajab.
- Laylat al-Qadr. The date associated with the revelation of the Koran to the Prophet Muhammad is celebrated during the fasting period in the month of Ramadan.
- Muslim New Year. It is celebrated on the first day of the month of Muharram.
- Birth of a Prophet It is celebrated on the 12th of the month of Rabig al-awwal.
A third of the population of Kazakhstan profess Christianity, so the country also celebrates Christian holidays:
- Christmas (January 7);
- The Baptism of the Lord (January 19);
- Easter (movable holiday, celebrated from April 4 to May 8);
- Trinity (celebrated on the 50th day after Easter);
- Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 28);
- Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (September 21)
These days, Orthodox Kazakhs visit churches, lay festive tables.
National Kazakh traditions
Every nation has at least one custom that can be called unique. The Kazakhs have many such traditions, and it is simply impossible to briefly talk about them.
- Baiga. This is horse racing over rough terrain. In the old days, the baiga was held as a competition of contenders for the hand of a girl, today these races are held at hippodromes, and cars or expensive office equipment serve as a prize.
- Sarkyt – gifts that the owners endow guests with. Such small gifts (usually in the form of sweets) are considered an expression of respect and gratitude for the visit.
- Erulik. Treats for new neighbors. This interesting national tradition of the Kazakhs has been preserved since the existence of auls, when new settlers received a set table as a gift from old-timers, this helped them quickly adapt to a new environment and know that neighbors will always come to the rescue.
- The division of life into cycles. One of the main traditions of the Kazakhs is the division of all life into 12-year periods – “mushly”. The first period is childhood, the second is the period of growing up and learning the chosen profession, the third is the time of creating a family and independent living. A man who has reached the fourth “mushel” is called an aksakal, the fifth and sixth “mushel” is the time of summing up the results of life.
Kazakh family traditions
The family traditions of the Kazakh people were built on a special kind of social hierarchy – the status in the tribal clan. So, after growing up, the eldest son was usually sent to the parents of his father or mother, the middle son was prepared for military service, and the youngest remained to live with his parents. It is customary for Kazakhs to keep their genealogy, before the genealogical tree in families was recorded until the seventh generation. This was done not only to honor the ancestors, but also to prevent marriages between close relatives. All important events in the life of the Kazakh family were accompanied by certain rituals.
The wedding traditions of the Kazakhs are a lot of national rituals that begin with matchmaking and end with post-wedding visits to all relatives. Kazakhstan observes a ban on marriage between close relatives, so the Kazakhs know their ancestry up to the seventh generation. It is also customary to observe the age difference between the bride and groom: the wife should not be older than her husband by more than 8 years, and the husband should not be older than his wife by more than 25 years.
Previously, a bride for a son was found by his parents long before he came of age, the new traditions of the Kazakhs do not forbid young people to choose their betrothed on their own, without a preliminary agreement between their and her parents. The matchmaking process takes place in several stages, the first visit to the girl’s parents is made by the fiance’s trustee, and if they agree to the marriage, the groom’s father comes. Families exchange gifts and conclude a marriage contract. Only after all these rituals have been performed, the groom has the right to visit his future wife in her house, after sending her parents a gift as a sign of respect.
The official civil registration of marriage takes place at the local registry office. According to the folk traditions of the Kazakhs, the wedding ceremony does not require obligatory consecration by a mullah, it is enough for the representatives of the families of the bride and groom to sing the ritual wedding song “auzhar aitu”.
According to national Kazakh customs, the wedding is held in two stages. First, a group of young people arrive at the bride’s house, among them the groom, whose rich clothes distinguish him from the accompanying horsemen. The bride’s wedding attire is a long dress embroidered with silk and a special headdress – a high cap “saukele” made of velvet, decorated with precious stones.
The wedding in the groom’s house takes place the next day, when the young people have actually become spouses. After the wedding feast, the groom’s mother removes the saukele cap from the bride and puts on her the headdress of a married woman – the kasaba. After the wedding, the young husband and wife visited their new relatives for several days, bringing gifts with them, and thus demonstrating their respect and respect.
Rituals associated with the birth of children
From infancy, a Kazakh child went through many rituals, which, it was believed, helped him become independent and successful.
One of the ancient traditions of the Kazakhs is the celebration of the birth of a child. The ceremonial ceremony is called Besik toy. On the third day after birth, the baby is placed in a rocking cradle, which symbolizes a cozy nest. Guests are invited to the celebration and the name of the newborn is announced.
Kyrkynan shygaru is a rite of ritual washing of a child when he turns 40 days old, which is considered a period of purification and adaptation.
The national ceremony, which is performed when the child is one year old, is called Tusau kesu. The baby’s legs are tied with a black and white rope, and a person who is considered endowed with good energy cuts this rope so that the child quickly gets on his feet and walks in life along the right path.
At the age of 5, Kazakh boys are given two ritual rites called Atka otyrgyzu. The Turkic peoples, leading a nomadic lifestyle, taught boys to ride from an early age. The first ritual landing on a horse is carried out by an aksakal, after which, in the presence of a mullah, a specially trained person performs a circumcision operation on the boy – removal of the foreskin.
Seeing the last journey
The funeral rite of the Kazakhs is based on ancient traditions, it is quite complicated. Burial is carried out no earlier than two or three days after death. The deceased is washed, a relative of the same sex as the deceased takes part in the ceremony, children are not allowed to wash their parents. There are rules in which order the body of the dead should be washed; this order cannot be violated.
When the body was considered ritually clean, it is wrapped in several narrow panels of white matter, which replace the shirt and turban, and wrapped in a carpet. After the vestment, a memorial service (zhanaza) was held, at which the mullah read a prayer for the dead. Then the deceased was transported to the cemetery.
According to the prescriptions of Islam, only men take part in the funeral ceremony, regardless of the gender of the deceased. The body of the deceased is placed on the south side of the grave, then several people descend into the pit and receive the body, lowered on long towels. The burial is accompanied by the reading of the suras of the Koran. A funeral dinner is held after the funeral, on the 3rd, 7th and 40th day, as well as on the anniversary of death.
The main dishes of the Kazakhs are meat, they are prepared from lamb, beef, horse meat or camel meat. Islam does not allow pork meat to be consumed, and poultry is not often used in Kazakh recipes, since its breeding in the country is limited.
TOP-10 Kazakh national dishes:
- Five fingers. A very thick soup with a strong broth. It consists of pieces of boiled meat and salma – curly homemade noodles.
- Kuyrdak. Meat offal (liver, heart, kidneys, lungs) and potatoes fried in tail fat.
- Ushpara. The first dish is dough squares stuffed with meat, boiled in vegetable soup.
- manti. An analogue of Russian dumplings, a dish of finely chopped meat and thinly rolled dough, steamed manti.
- Palau (plov in Kazakh). In addition to the usual ingredients – rice, meat (usually lamb), carrots and onions, dried apricots, raisins or dried apples are added to pilaf.
- Judge. This is horse meat sausage cooked with spices and spices.
- Cocktail. Fish baked with vegetables and cheese. Prepared in a koktalnitsa – a metal box with a lattice.
- Baursak. A dessert dish, which is a donut fried in oil, round, square or triangular in shape.
- Talkan. A sweet dish of roasted and crushed wheat grains mixed with sugar syrup.
- Chak-chak. Dessert made from thin long pieces of deep-fried dough, poured with syrup and sprinkled with nuts.