New, Massive National Folklore Collection Presented

ASTANA – A 100-volume series of Kazakh folklore called “Babalar Sozi” (Kazakh for The Words of Ancestors) was presented at the National Academic Library of the Ministry of Culture and Information of Kazakhstan on Feb. 20.

The collection, by authors Seit Kaskabassov, head of the Madeni Mura (“Cultural Heritage”) State Programme’s folklore section, and Ualikhan Kalizhanov, director of the Mukhtar Auezov Institute of Literature and Art, contains 20 volumes devoted solely to heroic epics. There are also 13 volumes of historical epics, 13 volumes of novelistic poems, eight volumes of love novels, seven volumes of religious poems and five volumes of folk tales. Smaller genres within the folklore tradition are represented in sets of 1-3 volumes. “Babalar Sozi” was published by Astana’s Foliant publishing house.

Speaking at the presentation, Minister of Culture and Information Mukhtar Kul-Muhammed reminded attendees that “Babalar Sozi,” “One Thousand Songs of the Kazakh people” and “One Thousand Kazakh Kyuis” had all been published under the Madeni Mura programme developed in 2003 on the President’s instruction.

“I am sure this edition will open broad opportunities for all people to get acquainted with the rich heritage of the Kazakh people. For researchers, it is a good opportunity to more closely study the folklore,” he said. The minister expressed his gratitude to Kaskabassov, Kalizhanov and Kalizhanov’s staff.

“Everyone knows the saying, ‘Time to scatter stones and time to gather stones.’ Now, it’s time for  us to gather stones: to present to the Kazakh people and the entire international community our spiritual treasure and rich historical heritage: the 100-volume series of Kazakh folklore, ‘Babalar Sozi,’” Kul-Muhammed said, addressing the audience of public figures, writers, poets, scholars and readers.

Kaskabassov expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Culture and Information for their help and support and noted that Kazakh folklore is a great spiritual wealth.

Many countries collect, publish and study their folklore and art. According to speakers at the presentation, however, no other country has researched, collected and published such a massive edition of folklore. In some countries of the post-Soviet space, this work is just beginning.

Even this massive collection isn’t complete, Kalizhanov said. Material exists to fill 25 more volumes.

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