Traditions in Kazakhstan


Despite the fact that modern Kazakhstan accepts and supports the features and traditions of all 125 nations living on its territory, it has also managed to preserve its own.


Initially, traditions of the Kazakhs took the course of Tengrianism - a pagan ideology that existed before the adoption of Islam. As a result, a symbiosis of Muslim customs and Tengrianism was harmoniously combined and had gone through all evolution stages to shape a today person's life.


Kazakhstan is rich of customs and traditions that had been accumulating for centuries since the creation of the Kazakh Khanate (in 1465) – by Zhanibek and Kerey. Traditions evolved based on values ​​and character of Kazakh people, which include their widely known hospitality, respect for elders, and close ties with relatives.


The Kazakhs are very peaceful and calm people. They follow a measured lifestyle and their exceptional feature is kindheartedness. Kazakhs were nomads, and nomadic lifestyle influenced the formation of many traditions and habits. Wanderers left the yurts after they were completely fed and rested, and nowadays this hospitality is used for guests. Families and friends always helped and supported each other in trouble. Each holiday family table was covered with a delicious traditional food. This table was called Dastarkhan, and we still love and respect this habit nowadays.


Customs covers the entire spectrum of nomad life. Let me introduce to you those traditions that belong to the most important periods and are popular among the Kazakh people nowadays.


It was one of Kazakhs traditions that the groom's parents began to look for a bride way before his adulthood. They wanted a girl from a decent family, without hereditary diseases in the family. By the way, the birth of the future newlyweds had to differ to the 7th tribe (it was strictly monitored to exclude the incest). Families could select a girl no more than 8 years older than the guy, and men could be much older than their wives - till 25 years. So, if it was learned that there was a pretty match in the native or neighboring village, jigit’s friends would gone there to look at the girl to evaluate her, deciding whether she was suitable for their friend or not. The girl was supposed to show her talents and arranged a small show - she sang, danced, surprised with needlework and openly communicated. All endeavors - in order to approach and attract a potential groom. After all, it was accepted from ancient times that the Kazakh girls looked after the home hearth and cooked meal for the family, while husbands, main breadwinners of the family, were grazing livestock or hunting.




Therefore, most Kazakh girls are craving for the moment of Marriage since their childhood. The Kazakhs are used to think that the girl lives in the house of her parents as a guest, and will become the mistress of the house after moving in with her husband and his parents. In many families this is practiced nowadays.


Kazakh people always keen to organize luxurious weddings, it started from ancient times. Therefore, it is very important to follow all wedding traditions, so that the ceremony will be a topic of discussion for many years after it happened.


It’s interesting, some modern couples who cannot afford a big wedding can even take a bank loan for the wedding organization. And no one will condemn them, because it is expected so much from them, starting from participation in such wedding traditions, as: "kudalyk", "kelin tүsіru" and "Betashar", "қyz ұzatu".


Matchmaking ("kudalyk ") takes place in the house of the bride. Parents of the groom meet bride’s family for the first time, give gifts to close relatives of their son’s future wife, and "negotiate" with the girl's father about the wedding.

The ceremonial rite of meeting the bride with matchmakers ("kelin tsysiru") before the wedding is accompanied by the performance of traditional songs, future advice. As a tradition the bride’s face should be opened by taking off a veil ("betachar"), and the mother of a jigit (guy) would put on her long precious earrings. Earrings is a sign of her acceptance into family as a daughter.

The farewell of the bride ("Kyz ұzatu"). A farewell party is arranged from the side of the bride and followed with warm wishes and instructions for the newly made family. At this evening, the girl has a slow dance with her dad, and moms often cry, because they let go their daughter, where she will have to show her capability to be a good mistress in someone else's house and take care of a new family.

After all these events, the groom organizes a real wedding in his hometown.



Birth and upbringing of a child


Kazakhs celebrate this day, arranging "Toi" (in translation from Kazakh - a holiday). They gather together and share happiness with all their friends and relatives.




On the 40TH day after the birth of the child, the baby is bathed in forty spoonfuls of silver water, and the baby is also having the first hair and nails cut - this ritual is called "Kirkynan shygaru".


Next follows "Tusau kesu" - the cutting of the ties, when the baby begins to take the first steps. Previously, when Kazakhs lived in yurts, the oldest and most respected person was invited to cut the ropes so that the child would follow his steps. Now the godmother is asked to cut the ties.


If you want to learn more about traditional cuisine, you can read about it in the section "Kitchen",


And if you are not sure that you are familiar with the holidays in Kazakhstan, go to the "Holidays" section.


Have a nice day!