Kazakhs have a large number of national, state holidays, which are often accompanied by days off. In Kazakhstan all nationalities are united by love for kindred and friendly ties. Therefore, family holidays are met with the most warmth. However, state and national holidays are also very valuable for the people. At the appointed time, all families, children, couples and friends are celebrating city-scale events on the main squares. And if the fun lasts till evening, everybody get to see large fireworks.
National holidays can be distinguished by the fact that they have a huge historical significance in shaping the development of Kazakh statehood.
State holidays are of a socio-political nature and most often they cause official events organized by the Akimat * on the main streets of each city. Loud salutes, entertainment programs and concerts raise the spirit of society, unite it, and force people to get out of their homes.
"Victory Day" is especially important for all CIS countries, because it is dedicated to the victory of Soviet troops in the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945). This day merges all generations into one in honor of the memory of grandfathers and grandmothers who died during the Second World War. Almost the entire city gathers with flowers at the eternal fire to pay tribute to the winners who didn’t get to enjoy the honor in life.
Religious holidays. According to statistics in Kazakhstan, there are 4,200 religious communities belonging to 46 denominations and dominations (2009 data). Currently, there are almost 3200 mosques, churches, prayer houses. Among the believers there are followers of almost all world religions: Islam, Christianity (Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestant currents), Buddhism, as well as Judaism, Hinduism, ancient polytheistic cults and modern neoplasms.
The most common holidays refer to the traditional religions of the local population. They’re Sunni Islam and Russian Orthodox Christianity.
According to the 2009 census, Muslims make up 70% of the population.
Three Muslim holidays are associated with Ramadan. The month of Ramadan is considered to be sacred. During this period of time it is preferred to leave worldly affairs and concentrate all your thoughts and deeds on the main thing -the soul.
"Oraza Ait" (right after the holy month of Ramadan) is celebrated for three days. Having held fast for a month, Muslims go on a visit to relatives and friends to taste delicious food and share happiness.
In 2018, from 9 to 10 June, the Predestination Night ("Qadir Tuni") took place, and all believers did not sleep, but asked for forgiveness and prayed all night long to Allah, for Him to help change their destiny for the better. Another great feast is "Kurban-ait", a sacrifice (for example, of ram) with all the subtleties that praises Allah with awe for the end of the pilgrimage period to the holy places of Islam.
The brightest celebration by the Orthodox people is "Easter" (usually Easter is the first Sunday after the spring full moon). They bake “kulichiki” happily and noisily, and decorate Easter eggs, which are eaten by everyone who wishes to try, regardless of religion.
Professional holidays are dedicated to various specialties and, frankly, are not so popular, but numerous:
But for all nations living in Kazakhstan, favorite holidays are the “New Year” - January 1, “Nauryz” - from March 21 to March 23, and “International Women's Day” - March 8, and "Valentine’s Day" which gained popularity in recent years.
"New Year" revives the whole of Kazakhstan - both people and the landscape. Buildings, trees, advertisements, people's faces - everything is shining from within. The New Year’s eve makes supermarkets empty and on December 31everyone hurry to get to home with presents to their closest. This holiday unites people by family values and the desire to start the new year from scratch.
The “Nauryz” holiday is one of the oldest holidays on Earth (has been celebrated for more than five thousand years), it’s met as the beginning of the spring and the nature renewal. It is waited and loved absolutely by everyone, as three whole days of rest are given by the state. It is perceived as the start of the new year (when winter and cold ends) and a new life. Celebration comes with the vernal equinox. A lot of delicacies are being prepared, including "Nauryz kozhe" (soup with seven components). All friends and acquaintances gather in one place, since this holiday is usually feasted in a cheerful and noisy company during all three days.
On the "Women's Day" the entire country is filled with bright colors and positive emotions, as well as many people with different bouquets of flowers on the streets. Women are reminded why they are valued and loved.
The bruit of "Valentine's Day" is in the air a week before this unofficial holiday. Enamored couples come up with various ways to celebrate their union and show tenderness and concern for their partner. The romantic atmosphere is soaring all day, as many public places are decorated with the theme.
But even if young people are not in romantic relationships, they give their love and care to close people who treat them respectively.
In Kazakhstan, there’re many holidays celebrated, and naturally treated positively; some are more important, others (professional) are known by everyone. But the generally accepted and well-known ones are celebrated very amicably and sincerely.
If you are interested in kitchen - what people usually eat in Kazakhstan and what they consider as a festive meal, please visit the “Cuisine” article.
If you want to learn more about the traditions of the Kazakh people, do not miss the chance to read it in the article “Traditions”.
If you want to see what other holidays and days off are available in Kazakhstan, please go to this site
If you are interested in the religions common in Kazakhstan, you can visit the link to the site
Akimat * is a regional government body that exercises executive power in the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan.