Nauryz – Kazakh new year

Nauryz is a very important holiday for Kazakhs, which marks the beginning of a new year. It is celebrated several days starting from 21st of March, the day of the spring equinox.

Nauryz means ‘new day’, it is celebrated in the Great Steppes from ancient times.

Nauryz symbolizes goodness and wealth, happiness and love and a great friendship day, since this holiday is common for many nations.

During Nauryz celebrations, past offences are forgiven and forgotten and everybody makes a wish to leave all badness behind and bring renewal in the New Year.

Celebration of Nauryz
During the Nauryz holiday, large and small cities, villages become festival centres, felt yurts – traditional nomad houses are erected in city centres and rich dastarkhan (table) is laid down in each of them.

City squares get full of yurts, and many performances take place there. Here one can learn about the culture and lifestyle of nomads and find people wearing beautiful national clothes, listen to Kazakh songs and play of musical instruments, etc. In holiday exhibitions and fairs traditional gifts and souvenirs are sold.

Usually young people gather around Altybakan, which is a large hanging swing, with colourful decorations, where songs are sung, and traditional games are played.

During Nauryz holiday, many famous stars give concerts in cities and the holiday is completed by fireworks.

Dishes served during Nauryz
Nauryz kozhe is the most important of all meals during these days and a main symbol of Nauryz, since it is prepared specially for this day. Nauryz kozhe is special for its unique recipe.Traditionally, 7 different ingredients are added to Nauryz kozhe, which may vary, but basically these ingredients include: water, meat, salt, milk or yoghurt, one type of grains, chosen from rice, corn or wheat, and others. Seven ingredients symbolize seven virtues or qualities, such as joy, success, intelligence, health, wealth, agility and security.

During the celebration of Nauryz, the kozhe is offered to all guests in any city or village of Kazakhstan. Besides, other traditional Kazakh meals, such as beshbarmak, kuyrdak, baursak, and many types of meals made from milk (youghurt, kurt, cream, butter, cheese, etc) are also offered.

Interesitng facts:

  • Between 1926-1988, Nauryz holiday was not officially celebrated in Kazakhstan (Kazakh Soviet Socialistic Republic those days)
  • In 2009 - 3 days of Nauryz holiday, starting 21th of March, were officially announced bank holidays in Kazakhstan.
  • September 30, 2009 – Nauryz was included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO; since then, 21 of March is announced International Day of Nowruz (Nauryz).


 Now enjoy a short clip about Nauryz celebrations from Steppe Tales travel documentary.

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