Kazakhstan Сelebrates Nauryz, Festive Traditions Transformed by COVID-19

NUR-SULTAN — The celebration of the Nauryz holiday, New Year or the festival of spring, abundance and the day of the equinox is marked on March 22. It is a time of coming together in Kazakhstan, for the second year in a row celebration traditions are being transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Photo credits: weproject.media.kz.

In Kazakhstan, it is an official public holiday, with celebrations taking place on main squares, parks and streets in all the regions and cities. Citizens celebrated with family, neighbors, friends and strangers and with mass gatherings.

The celebrations include concerts, shows, bike races, contests, national sport competitions, tree planting and holiday food fairs. Due to the celebrations, March 21-23 were announced as holidays in Kazakhstan’s legislation.

City squares were filled with yurts and live performances. Visitors could learn about Kazakh culture, the lifestyle of nomads and see people wearing beautiful traditional clothing. 

Young people usually also gathered around Altybakan, a large hanging swing with colourful decorations, where songs are sung and traditional games are played.

The main dish served during Nauryz was always Nauryz kozhe, which is also the main symbol of the holiday. Nauryz kozhe is special for its unique recipe. Traditionally, seven ingredients are added to Nauryz kozhe. 

This year, COVID-19 has transformed some of these traditions. Almaty, Nur-Sultan and the West Kazakhstan region have entered the red zone as of March 19 due to increasing COVID-19 cases. Public transport and the operation of entertainment centers are suspended in Almaty and Nur-Sultan on March 21. Сitizens are urged to limit contacts and abandon mass celebrations.

This year the celebration of Nauryz will be accompanied by many charity events under the auspices of the Campaign of Good Deeds. Residents are welcomed to help those in need, buy food, clean snow and buy medicines in adherence with strict sanitary measures.

Citizens are encouraged to participate in online events. Cultural institutions have prepared virtual events to take place live on television and on social networks, including concerts, exhibitions, theatrical performances, historical and educational lectures and conferences.

On March 20, the online event in Almaty for children with disabilities will take place celebrating two holidays – Nauryz and the International Day of Happiness.

The Alzhir museum-memorial complex will present the “Turlet, Turlet, Oz Nauryz!” exhibition on March 22, available to everyone on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube social networks.

The official Instagram page of the circus in Nur-Sultan will host the circus program for Nauryz at 13.00. 

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