When is Nauryz?

Nauryz is one of the most important holiday in the Kazakh calendar.

Nauryz means ‘new day’, it is celebrated over several days from March 21st and marks Persian New Year which begins on the Vernal Equinox. The month of March is known as Nauryz in Kazakhstan.

History of Nauryz

This is a very ancient holiday, known to have been celebrated for over five thousand years by different cultures in central Asia. Certainly noticing that the days were starting to get longer than nights on the exposed plains of the steppes must have come as welcome relief to the tribes living there after a harsh winter.

As with other Spring festivals around the world, traditional customs focus on the idea of renewal, rebirth and a chance to start again. Acts such as house cleaning, settling debts and forgiving past offences by others are common.

Nauryz celebrations today are a mixture of old and new, ranging from preparing rich food to concerts. In fact, these days it seems that anything goes in marking Nauryz, with the prevailing rule being the more festive, the better.

Two key traditional elements of Nauryz are feasting, starting with Nauryz kozhe, and the erecting of yurts, or traditional nomad homes.

Nauryz kozhe is the most important dish related to the festival and a main symbol of Nauryz. Nauryz kozhe is traditionally made with seven different ingredients, which can vary but generally include water, meat, salt, milk, one type of grain (rice, corn or wheat) and two other ingredients. These seven ingredients symbolize the seven virtues of joy, success, intelligence, health, wealth, agility and security.

During Nauryz, in urban areas, traditional felt nomad dwellings called Yurts will be erected. These yurts act as focal points for people to find out more about the culture and lifestyle of the traditional nomads through Kazakh songs, dance and national clothing.

More modern festivities such as firework displays and music concerts will also take place during Nauryz.

In 1926 Kazakhstan became part of the Soviet Union and celebrating Nauryz was banned.

It was only in 1988, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union that Nauryz became a holiday once more, and was officially recognised by a presidential decree on March 15th 1991. Since then it has regained its position as the most important and popular festival in Kazakhstan.


Based on materials www.officeholidays.com


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