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Happy Nauryz to People around the World !! | by Far & Away (On assigment, mostly off)
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Happy Nauryz to People around the World !!

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A coleague just reminded me that today is Nauryz celebration across Middle & Central Asia, I am making a small break to post this one I took on a 22nd of March a couple of years ago. These lovely ladies were part of the early arrivers at the square that were taking part of the Nauryz celebration in this Kazakh City.


Nauryz Celebration @ Mahambet Square

Atyrau, Kazakhstan


About Nauryz

Nauryz is one of the oldest holidays on Earth, having been celebrated for over five thousand years by many cultures of the Middle and Central Asia. The holiday is held on 22 March, the day of the spring equinox and it celebrates the renewed life that comes with the Spring. Historically, people would clean their homes and reconcile debts on the eve of the celebration. The day of the festival was full of large feasts and mass games, traditional horse races and other competitions. Nowadays, Nauryz builds on traditions of the past by also including staged shows, ornate yurts, and delicious Nauryz-kozhe. It is also about charitable events, folk sporting games, tending of plants, planting trees, cleaning of parks, streets and squares.


Nauryz in Kazakhstan

For the Kazakh nomads, the arrival of spring was a time for great celebration. Life was hard for nomads on the Kazakh steppes, and Nauryz marked the end of the difficult winter season and the beginning of spring renewal. With spring came the beginning of a new years cycle of life, the time of year when the nomads happily said goodbye to harsh winter weather, welcomed warm weather, and rejoiced in the birthing season of their valuable livestock upon which they depended for food and their very livelihoods.


Nauryz symbolized the birth of a new years cycle of life and Kazakhs came together in their Auls to celebrate as a community. Nauryz was an Aul celebration because throughout the year, families worked together on behalf of their village. The Aul provided vital community support that kept families alive during harsh times and the Aul as a whole welcomed spring and celebrated the easier times that came with the New Year as symbolized by Nauryz.


The roots of the holiday are ancient, and it is believed that the roots of Nauryz began at least 2000 years ago, most likely in Persia. Nauryz-Meiram (Mei-rham means holiday in Kazakh) is celebrated mostly in Muslim countries, but it is not a religious holiday. Nauryz is a traditional celebration of the spring equinox celebrated today by many nations throughout Asia and Europe, including Russia, Ukraine, Japan, and China.


In modern Kazakhstan, Nauryz is truly a social event. People gather together at their main city squares, where holiday organizers erect yurts, stages, and trading tents where crafts and goods are sold. Food is cooked on open fires in huge pots, and people dress festively. Throughout the day loud music is played and national singers and dancers perform their arts. Above all, it is a time for people to spend time with their friends and family, to meet new people and to make new acquaintances.

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Taken on March 22, 2011