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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Fisk

Happy Nauryz! 💐

We are in full swing Nauryz (Nowruz) holiday weekend here in Kazakhstan. Three of the working days are recognized holidays, and this year it falls over the weekend. So 5 days of holidays! That is something we have had to get used to a bit here. Holidays are not stand alone like in the States, they can last for days at a time. 😂 Here’s just a few cool things about this holiday. It is the Iranian New Year (or Persian New Year), celebrated in all central asian countries plus a few more like Georgia, India, Iran, Turkey, China and others. The first day of the holiday coincides with the first day of spring for the northern hemisphere (March 21), and it’s an internationally acknowleged holiday in the UN. The definition of Nauryz actually is “new day”. It is a secular holiday, but enjoyed by people of many faiths, and is actually a holy day for a few religions.

In Kazakhstan specifically, we have had different friends share with us what it means here. During the celebrations, past offenses are forgiven and forgotten and everybody makes a wish to leave all badness behind and bring renewal in the New Year. (purifying and renovation) There are gifts presented as well to relatives and friends. Now the food, (always FOOD!) like what Avi and I are drinking pictured above, the most popular is Kozhe. Traditionally, it is made out of the items in your pantry you had stored for winter and it is a soup of sorts from those items to clear it out and get ready for fresh seasonal food. This soup (or like a drink) has to have 7 ingredients. Each region has different types of ingredients that are popular/common to that region. Those 7 ingredients represent the following: Also, the baursak is popular- it is a sweet puffy fried triangular bread that is actually made all year and served with tea, but I think lots of people home make it during this holiday. Then there is the shelpek, which is a round flat savory bread, (shaped round to symbolize the sun) also fried. Our neighbors made some of both and brought it over! ❤️

Lastly, the festivals! There are so many festivals in every village and city. Yurts (traditional nomadic hut type homes) are erected and on display, all the traditional clothing is worn, traditional musical instruments played and many dance and singing performances of traditional Kazakhs. Actually, we heard this year that the country pushed for all the people, not just performers, to wear traditional clothing. We definitely saw it walking around among the people in the old square. (second picture with us posing as a fam) Last year, we saw a traditional example of “dzhigitovka” where the ride went at a full gallop, stand up, jump to the ground and back to the saddle, pick up objects from the ground, and have various acrobatics including fire! Avi’s school even had a celebration this week 😍 (last picture) This holiday is such a fun cultural experience for us and we are learning something new every time.

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