Kazakhstan’s Kazak New Year: March 20
Kazak New Year is a public holiday in Kazakhstan.
Celebrated on the 21st of the month of Nissanu (Babylonian Year), Kazakhstan celebrates Nauryz Meyramy or Kazak New Year during the vernal equinox (spring). The month of Nissanu falls between the month of March and April.
History of Kazakhstan’s Kazak New Year
Nauryz Meyramy or Nauriz was taken from Iran’s traditional New Year celebration called Nowruz. It is believed that the first celebration of the holiday was made even before Islam was introduced in ancient Kazakhstan.
Nauryz Meyramy is one of the important and the most anticipated holidays in Kazakhstan. Apart from Iran, the holiday is also celebrated in other countries in Central Asia such as Afghanistan and Azerbaijan. Although the holiday is non-religious in nature, it was tied up to a number of legends such as the awakening of mother nature and the triumph of good over evil with spring representing the former and winter representing the latter.
The celebration of Nauryz Meyramy was halted and made less festive during the occupation of the Russian Empire in the country in the mid-19th century. However, it remained to be part of the people’s way of life and has managed to exist until it was formally reinstated in 1988, three years before it finally declared independence from Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) on December 16, 1991.
Kazakhstan’s Kazak New Year: Traditions, Customs and Activities
The celebration of Nauryz Meyramy may last for a week or two weeks or even one month depending on budget. The activities during the celebration have some similarity with Iran’s Nowruz or the traditional Iranian New Year.
Various cultural events are held in Astana, the country’s capital, and other major cities and towns in the country. The government also holds ceremonies with speeches calling for peace and national unity among its people.