Kazakh national holidays

National Holidays of Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan with its vast territory contains many nationalities that have committed to the growth of the nation’s public holidays. Today Kazakhstan celebrates the holidays of the major religions in the country as the holidays adopted from Russians during the tsar period and later Soviet time and in addition new holidays that emerged after Independence.

New Year - 1 January

New Year is possibly one of the biggest and beloved holidays in Kazakhstan. Originally New Year was adopted from the Russians in the mid 19th century while Russians were sent to Kazakhstan. As any other post-Soviet country Kazakhstan is still celebrating widely this holiday with a compulsory Russian “Olivie” salat and decorations. 

In the cities and villages hosts open-air carnivals which conclude with midnight fireworks. Kazakh have their own Santa Clause but called Ayaz Ata accompanied with Ayaz Kyz kinda his granddaughter Snow Girl character. Kazak Ayaz Ata is like old and with a long white beard Santa Clause, however with Kazakh white kalpak and brings gifts for the kids. 

The celebration starts on the 31st of December with the preparation of the table because it is the main eating feast. Midnight is the main aim of the holiday, so before midnight all the close friends and families gather around the table and await the coming of the new year. When it comes a few minutes to midnight everyone countdown and cheers the glasses with Sovetskya sparkling wine and exchange wishes for success and happiness with one another toasts.

Kyrgyz Nooruz celebration, swing

Nauryz - March 22

“Nauryz” came from Persia, and the word means “new day”. It is celebrated on March 22, considered to be the beginning of spring. Nauryz is a symbol of renewal and the birth of a new life. It is believed to be the day when day and night are equalized. 

Kazakhs consider the beginning of the new year “Ulystyk uly kuni” – a great day for the people. Celebration traditions are aimed to show the best human qualities – openness, cordiality, mercy. Commonly, on Nauryz, Kazakhstanis wear nice clothes go out, praise each other, have fun, sing and hold folk games. During Nauryz you can also observe some national competitions such as horse races, aitys (akyns’ competitions), etc.

Nauryz kozhe is a traditional food in Nauryz. The dish combines seven ingredients: smoked meat, milk, millet, wheat, corn, water and butter. Today the recipe for “kozhe” is changing added some additions depending on taste preferences.

Orthodox Christmas - January 7

An official holiday in Kazakhstan since 2005, however not everyone celebrates it. About 23% of the population of Kazakhstan are Orthodox Christian who celebrate the Orthodox Christian on January 7th. 

Across the country, ringers the Church bells chime and festive rituals are recited in Orthodox churches. The celebration starts with the visit of the churches, in Almaty and Nursultan located the biggest Assumption Cathedrals. After the service, it is common for believers to visit relatives and friends, praising each other with gifts, sweets and special Christmas presents.

Almaty Ortodox church
Zharkent Orthodoz church is also colorful

Day of the capital - June 10

Since Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana) obtained the status of capital in 1998 Kazakhstan celebrated Capital Day in Kazakhstan on June 10. Whether it is a coincidence or not but 10thh of June is also the birthday of the first and ex-president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbaev.

Nur-Sultan is the only capital in Central Asia that was built and developed after Independence. The northmost capital of Central Asia located in Euroasia Nur-Sultan blends elements of both East and West. The most fascinating architectural structure is The Palace of Peace, Reconciliation and Baiterek. In 1999, UNESCO mark Nur-Sultan “The City of Peace”. Within the last two centuries, the population of the capital increased to 1 million.

Day of the First President - December 1

Day of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan is the official name of the holiday. It marks the first presidential elections that were held on December 1st, 1991 in Kazakhstan after the break-up of the Soviet Union. The day became official on the list of public holidays in 2011. 

The day marks the achievements of the first president and aims to strengthen peace and harmony in the country. Normally, it celebrated with cultural events are held throughout Kazakhstan and festive fireworks arranged in the evening in honor of ex and first president Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Independence day - December 16

Kazakstan became independent from the Soviet Union on December 16, 1991. Since this day a new period began in the history of the country. Independence day is one of the primary holidays in Kazakhstanis which is celebrated with feasts and fireworks.

Kazakh man playing dombra and singing the song for woman in red on the green grass in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Central Asia
Eagle Hunter with his golden eagle

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
error: Alert: Content is protected