Independence Day: December 16
Independence Day is a public holiday in Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan was the last of the former Soviet Republics to declare its independence from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on December 16, 1991. Even though the Supreme Council of the Kazakh SSR accepted the Declaration on State Sovereignty of the Kazakh SSR on October 25, 1990, it wasn’t until December 16, 1991 that Kazakhstan adopted the constitutional law on the independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
History of Independence Day in Kazakhstan
The Russians had been advancing into Kazakhstan since the 18th century, but not until the mid-19th century was all of Kazakhstan taken by the Russian Empire. Following the Russian Revolution in 1917 that led to the creation of the Soviet Union under a Bolshevik Government, Kazakhstan became a battle ground for civil war, finally forming the Kazakh Soviet Socialist. Kazakh became important to the Soviets as the site for the Baikonur Cosmodrome—the first and largest operational space launch facility in the world—and the Semipalatinsk Polygon—the USSR’s primary testing site for nuclear weapons. After the historical fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Kazakhstan declared itself independent on December 16, 1991. Nursultan Nazarbayev, a Kazakhstan communist-era leader, became the country’s first president.
Kazakhstan’s Independence Day Traditions, Customs and Activities
The president and government, accompanied by politicians and public figures, usually head festivities in the presidential palace, Ak Orda, in Astana, capital city of Kazakhstan. Kazakhs celebrate Independence Day by dressing in traditional clothes, and villages will set up a yurt, a kind of elaborate tent used by the nomad Kazakhs. In the yurk is served meals, especially a dish of horse meat called beshbarmak. Kazakhs take the opportunity of the day off to visit friends and family, bringing gifts like flowers or candies. It is usual to organize tournaments with traditional games like horse races surrounded by other amusing activities and popular games.