Author: Local member and Nauryz aficionado, Farida
Nauryz is my family’s favourite holiday. Every family sets a table for guests. Friends and families visit each other, bringing gifts. It is similar to Christmas in that it unites people together around the table with traditional food. While presents are not specifically part of the celebration, when we visit friends we do bring sweets and homemade food. It’s the oldest holiday celebrated in Central Asia and the Middle East, dating back almost 5,000 years.
The month of Nauryz is the first month of the year according to the Eastern calendar. It coincides with the equinox, where day and night are equal lengths everywhere on Earth, as the sun crosses the equator. Kazakhs considered the month of Nauryz sacred.
“Nou Ruz ” translates to “New Day” in Persian, the first symbolic step of the Sun toward the Earth. The Nomadic year is associated with the beginning of Spring and the Revival of Life.
It is believed that New Year does not come into the house if something old reigns. Therefore, in preparation for Nauryz, houses are cleaned and repaired, clothes mended, and work tools fixed. People buy new items and give old goods to the poor.
Just before Nauryz I clean my house and get rid of my old and unused things. My family and I cook some special dishes like Nauryz Kozhe or Baursak. We visit friends and family and they visit us. We celebrate the new year and new life coming.
The way you spend the first day of Nauryz is the way you will live a year. Therefore we try to be generous and hospitable on this day. We forgive any debts and offenses made against us.
The whole of Kazakhstan celebrates this month-long holiday. Some people like to wear traditional dress. In the cities people go to their public squares, where they organize concerts with traditional music and games. Sometimes Plov or Baursak will be served. In the villages they go to the fields, where there are horseback riding games, a big swing, and food cooked in the open air.
Celebrating the end of the old year and the beginning of the new one, we repeat the act of Initial Creation. The ritual helps us to feel the connection with the Space, with something very ancient, giving us an instant sense of belonging to the Eternal.