Kokmaisa Fest 2021 Introduces Kazakh Traditions to Promote Virtual Tourism

NUR-SULTAN – The traditional Kokmaisa ethnic festival was held online for the fifth time in a row in the Terisakkan village of the Ulytau district in the Karaganda region on May 2. This year’s festival was dedicated to the 30th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence.

Celebration of Kokmaisa Fest in Terisakkan. Photo credit: Gov.kz. Click to see the map in full size.

The festival is seen as a good opportunity to introduce Kazakh history and the traditions of the region to foreigners. According to the museum of the Ulytau nature reserve, the origin of these ancient practices dates back to the Bronze Age. 

The festival aims to showcase spring celebrations associated with the Kazakh cult of fertility. The residents of Terisakkan showcased such customs as bie bailau (tying up of the mare), aigyr kosu (matchmaking of stallions) and kymyzmuryndyk (drinking fresh kumys, fermented mare’s milk). In the courtyard of each house, tables were set with various national dishes and delicacies. Such cultural practices of horse breeding have been carefully preserved on the territory of Terisakkan.

Celebration of Kokmaisa Fest in Terisakkan. Photo credit: Ulytau nature reserve museum.

“Every spring the museum staff of the Ulytau nature reserve hosts the festival in the village of Terisakkan. Every spring is a big holiday for the villagers. The festival is widely known not only in Kazakhstan but abroad as well. This year, tourists from the U.S., France, Bahrain, Poland, Ukraine, Russia and Central Asia participated in the festival online,” the akimat (administration) of the Ulytau region reports. 

Participant of the Kokmaisa Fest preparing traditional Kazakh dish. Photo credit: Ulytau nature reserve museum.

Representatives of international organizations and media, including the UNESCO and National Geographic, as well as local media, such as Discovering Kazakhstan and Turan-TV, were also virtually present at the Kokmaisa Fest. The Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity Committee of UNESCO acted as the main partner of the Kokmaisa Fest. 

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