The most important holiday of the Kazakhs is Nauryz – the arrival of the new year, which comes on March 22, the day of the vernal equinox. Everyone knows nauryz kozhe is made this holiday season. But are they all aware of other customs followed by the ancestors of the Kazakhs in the old days?
The correspondent of BaigeNews.kz read about the details of this festival, and also learned about other strange customs, in the book of the famous writer and artist Yeraly Ospanuly “Kazakh folk customs: childhood, marriage and other customs”, written in 2009. As a result, we have selected 10 unusual customs for readers, some of which have been forgotten or changed in some way today.
Nauryz – meeting with the new year
In his book, which, incidentally, was illustrated by Yeraly Ospanuly himself with more than 90 drawings, the author described in detail how the people of the steppe of Kazakhstan celebrated Nauryz – the celebration of spring and new life.
Ospanuly says that before Nauryz, people tidied up their homes and households. The women lit two candles each, tossed the dishes with chips and worn-out clothes.
After that, at Nauryz in every aul, the traditional nauryz kozhe dish prepared by each family, cooked from seven ingredients, was poured into a huge cauldron and mixed.
Celebrating, people came to visit each other, went to neighboring villages and wished everyone that they would know the best for the new year.
The boys gave the girls mirrors, scented soap, scallops and other gifts. This custom was called selt etkizer – “to scare.” “with the addition of meat scraps harvested in the fall,” the author writes.
Then the youth went to have fun – they sang, rode on a swing, played various games until late.
The day ended with the fact that after the feast, in the handles of a large cauldron, in order not to “get angry”, they tied pieces of white substance and, putting food in it already as a treat, returned the cauldron. directly to its owner.
Bata – blessing
Bata’s well-known ritual, writes Yeraly Ospanuly, can not be overestimated in the life of the Cossacks. And the most common baht was the blessing of the dastarhan.
But in addition to that, there were unusual batas, such as, for example, jana aiga bata – “blessing for the young moon, when he was asked to protect himself and the moon to be generous. Bata was made using proverbs and sayings, and often in lyrics ».
“Zharyskazan” – Competition with a cauldron
The women of Kazakhstan gave birth standing up, hung on a lasso or on a bau – a tight and beautifully woven ribbon. When a pregnant woman was giving birth, one of her close relatives was cooking one of the quick meals.
“For that, he took a knife and sharpened it with a blow on the edge of the cauldron, while saying loudly: ‘Kara kazan buryn pise me, kara katyn buryn tua ma? In addition, what he undertook, he was trying to do. “Once the baby was born safe, everyone had to try the cooked dish,” writes Yeraly Ospanuly in your book.
Kotendestiru – The ceremony of meeting two women in childbirth
It often happened in a large family that the mother-in-law and the bride or many brides gave birth at about the same time. According to custom, they were supposed to see each other only 40 days after the birth of their children. It is believed that from this newborns can get scabies. Therefore, births occurred only after some time.
“For this, one of the brides invited both women to visit her and arranged for them the rite of the first kotendestiru date – pushing them with their buttocks. She placed and sat her face on the wall. The second one, which went up a little later, sat with its back to the one who was already sitting “, the author writes.
Then, says Yeraly Ospanuly, with the hostess’ predetermined signal, they took the bundles in their left hand, passed them under their right foot, and passed them to each other with their right hand at the same time. Then they opened the gifts to taste the delicacies and only after that, turning around, they greeted happily. After performing the kotendestir ritual, the women, who again found the opportunity to communicate freely in such an unusual way as before, began to thank their bride and handed her their gifts.
Ogіzge terіs mіngіzu – putting the probe on the ox backwards
During the wedding, the Kazakhs had many customs. Some of them could even be a kind of test for the participants. For example, this involved provocateurs coming to the bride’s groove.
“In the yurts, the consuls often hid from hidden women who rushed at them and sprinkled them with flour, smearing their faces with soot diluted in sour cream or mud from a puddle. Several people sat around each of them,” Yeraly writes. Ospanuly. .
Then, after giving them a little treat to eat, they started asking various questions with a trick, a puzzle, asking them to repeat a tongue twister or to continue an unfinished song. At the same time, wanting to confuse them, they were taken by surprise by all sorts of tricks, and when the consul was lost, they took him out and, as punishment, covered him with water from head to toe.
“If the consul turned out to be stubborn at the same time, then they could push him into a tank and then for a long time prevent him from going ashore. αυλ. – the bride’s hair, tied, was planted from behind in front of an ox and she was driven to the steppe. “Then, seeing how we were shaking in the saddle and, having galloped some distance, he rolled helplessly on the ground, they laughed heartily”, writes the author of the book.
Tilasar – the custom of celebrating a child’s first words
One of the most important and interesting of all the stages of a child’s development for his parents and loved ones were the days when he began to make his first conscious attempts to speak with articulation.
At that time, few people did not want to try to distinguish in the baby’s unspecified speech their own name or the word with which he addressed them. And then, to teach the common pet to speak faster, the Kazakhs performed a special tilashar ritual – opening the tongue.
“To perform this ritual, they slaughtered a sheep and invited a relative who was known for his eloquence to visit it. Sometimes, if there was such an opportunity, they called him a biy or sessen famous for his wisdom, a sharp Tilasar passed in a festive atmosphere. This important mission, he took a large intestine of a sheep and, after folding it seven times, wrapped the child’s neck and then began to pull the limbs slightly in different directions in turn. , “apa” – grandmother or “mom” – mother nipple. “When the child gradually began to repeat after him, the parents rejoiced and, after receiving a bata – a blessing, called everyone to dastarkhan,” writes the author of a book on Kazakhstan customs.
Yeraly Ospanuly spoke in more detail about the importance of this ritual in a recent interview with BaigeNews.kz.
Shash alu – the first haircut
A kind of tuft on the heads of children of Kazakhstan, which in the past often made travelers smile, was intended to serve as an amulet against the evil eye.
“A hair that remained on the top of the boys’s head during the haircut was called aidar, and the tuft of hair left on the forehead was called kequil, which was later braided into a five-year-old, making the first haircut, which was given of particular importance, “writes Yeraly Ospanuly.
On this occasion, they organized a special celebration – Shash Alu. That is why all the adult men of the village were invited and the eldest of them was the first to cut a hair from the baby’s head. At the same time, aksakal said a wish: “Zhasyn uzak bolsyn!” – “Your life!”. After that, the child passed to another, and all those present, having done the same, gave the hero of the occasion money or sweets, says the author.
Bala tarbiesі – raising children
For the Cossacks there was no greater misery in the world than being childless. They respected the birth of a child as the highest manifestation of God’s mercy.
Counting the number of children was considered bad behavior and when asked how many there were, they always answered hesitantly: “three-four”, “five-six” or somewhat distant: “Thank God, there are girls and there are boys. “, Writes the author.
Ospanuly also notes that although it was common for Cossacks to abuse children too much, they paid close attention to their proper upbringing. Girls from the age of five or six were involved in cooking, washing dishes, washing clothes, teaching embroidery, setting up and dismantling a party. The boys were instructed to graze the lambs and guard the herds.
“Apart from the household, the parents also took care of their children to grow up talented. “If a guest arrived in the village, after dinner the children of the village would gather at home, who, according to custom, demanded to show their art: the ability to play dombra, sing a song, show tricks or riddles.” , says Yeraly Ospanuly.
At the same time, if the guest did not know how, then he was forced to roar with a rooster or a bellows with a cow. This custom served as a good lesson for the children and warned them not to end up in the position of a mediocre guest in the future.
Salemdeme – news from a married daughter
After the wedding, the bride had to adjust to her husband’s normal, measured pace of life. Of course, everyone’s life turned out in their own way, but all of them, at the first opportunity, tried to convey something small as news to their relatives. Often these were embroidered handkerchiefs or other small items of their own embroidery.
“From the ornaments embroidered on them, the girl’s parents could receive encrypted information about her fate, how well or how hard she lives after the wedding. For example, if their daughter embroidered a classic koshkarmuyiz ornament on a scarf – a ram’s horn, with very thin, uneven lines, this meant that no one counted on it and often insulted it. “In the latter case, the girl’s parents, overjoyed, hurried to share the good news with their loved ones. They sacrificed a ram and celebrated the good news behind a rich dastarhan,” writes Ospanuly.
Yerulik – meeting of new neighbors
When a new family migrated to an aul to settle, the neighbors were obliged to fulfill for them the custom of erulik – helping.
“While the arrivals were unloading their loaded camels and taking care of their folded belongings, the residents of the nearby houses were coming towards them, carrying drinks and hot food. After feeding the arrivals, volunteer assistants began to assist them. “They untied a lot of balls, arranged the yoghurt components, connected them in sections and placed it,” says the author.
Thanks to erulik, the new residents of the village quickly established contact with their neighbors and the process of adapting to a new place was much easier and less laborious.