Home Holidays Nauryz holiday in Kazakhstan: history, traditions and features

Nauryz holiday in Kazakhstan: history, traditions and features

by marusia

What is Nauryz? Among the Iranian and Turkic peoples, this is the holiday of the arrival of spring according to the astronomical solar calendar, the holiday of the vernal equinox. It symbolizes the completion of one annual cycle and the birth of a new one.

The famous scientist, candidate of historical sciences Arnabai Nurzhanov calls Nauryz a universal folk holiday. In Kazakhstan it is called the Great Day of the People (Ulystyn uly kuni). What does Nauryz bring? The spring holiday is a symbol of renewal, the birth of a new life, new opportunities. It is dedicated to fertility, the triumph of love and friendship. Nauryz is a reminder that in the old year everything bad and unpleasant will remain, and in the spring everything bright and joyful will be reborn. The name of the holiday comes from two ancient Iranian words: “no” – “new” and “rose” – “day”.

Arnabai Nurzhanov adds that the name could come from the Persian “ruz” – “light”, “ray”, and the holiday means “new light”. The UNESCO website reports that the celebration of Nauryz marks the inextricable connection of creation with natural cycles of renewal. International Nowruz Day was declared on March 21. The holiday symbolizes a caring attitude towards nature and the affirmation of life in harmony with it.

When did the Nauryz holiday first appear?

This is one of the oldest holidays, which appeared about 5 thousand years ago. In the sacred book of Zoroaster’s doctrine, the day of the vernal equinox had the status of the beginning of a new year. In Zoroastrianism, this holiday was dedicated to fire as a life force, which is partially preserved in modern rituals. The celebration of the end of winter, the threshold of spring and the commemoration of the souls of ancestors took place during the ancient Persian Achaemenid dynasty (VI-IV centuries BC). The holiday spread in the cultures of Western and Central Asia under different names. With the adoption of Islam, the ancient folk holiday was legitimized: prayers were read in the mosque, and sacred places were visited.

However, this celebration is essentially devoid of a religious orientation and is dedicated to a natural phenomenon. In Soviet times, Nauryz was canceled in 1926 as a relic of the past, but was resumed in 1988. In 1991, Nauryz gained official recognition: in the Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the day of the vernal equinox on March 22 was declared the day of the national spring holiday, Nauryz Meiramy. Another 10 years later, in 2001, Nauryz became a public holiday and was included in the list of holidays of the Republic of Kazakhstan. How many days do people rest on Nauryz? Since 2009, three days of March, declared non-working days, have been dedicated to the celebration in Kazakhstan.

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