January 1-2 – New Year
March 8 – International Women’s Day
IWD is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present, and future.
March 22 – Nauryz (Traditional holiday of Spring, ancient Turkic New Year)
“Nauruz”, Persian for “New Year”, is a time for family and friends to celebrate, cherish the past memories, and anticipate a better year. To rejoice in the end of the harsh winter and welcome the spring, relatives gather around a table and exchange gifts. All who join in the festivities, however, must have accomplished the following goals:
- Asked for forgiveness of their sins
- Liquidated their debts
- Revived themselves spiritually
- Physically reconciled with relatives and friends.
Similar to the Persian New Year, the number ‘7’ is significant for Kazakhs. For instance, the main ritual dish, “Nauryz-kozheh,” includes seven ingredients:
These seven ingredients signify the seven life beginnings:
- Speedy growth
- Heavenly protection
Everyone must visit seven houses and invite seven guests.
During the day, Kazakhs shout, “Koktem tudy!” (Spring is born!) in the streets, squares, parks and stadiums. There are plenty of activities to participate in or observe, including:
- Kazakhsha-kyres (national sport in which men wrestle while riding a horse)
- Kokpar (team contest of rider groups trying to seize and take possession of a slaughtered goat’s body)
- Ethnic theater
- Fashion shows
- Parades (marches that teach visitors about the Kazakh culture and the importance of respecting other countries).
- Nauryz concert 2011
May 1 – Unity Day
This day marks the anniversary of the meeting held in 1726 between three local Kazak elders (biis), Tole Bi, Kazybek Bi, and Aiteke Bi. Fearing the threat of invading Dzhungars, the three sought to reunite their hordes to create a stronger, more effective defense. President Nazarbayev has indicated that the success of these men in uniting the Kyrgyz and Uzbek tribes should inspire the process of establishing peace in Central Asia.
In today’s world, Unity day is celebrated as a form of Labor Day: a day of national, regional, and global solidarity. Within the borders of Kazakhstan, many associations, unions, and communities of ethnic groups exist peacefully, including but not limited to Poles, Romanians, Hungarians, Greeks.
May 9 – Victory Day
Celebrated since 1947, Victory Day marks the surrender of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in World War II. It was first inaugurated in the fifteen republics of the Soviet Union, following the signing of the surrender document on May 9, 1945.
July 6 - Astana Day
On July 6 Kazakhs celebrate the “birthday” of their capital - Astana (Astana was renamed to Nur-Sultan in March 2019).
August 30 – Constitution Day
Constitution Day is a public holiday honoring the day Kazakhstan signed and adopted their Constitution.
December 16 – Independence Day
In just a short span of time, Kazakhstan has managed to become a stable, powerful, and well-respected nation. In honor of the past 18 years of independence, celebrations will be held throughout the country, including concerts, conferences, exhibitions, and feasts.