Heart, imagination and intellect – this is the environment of emerging that we call culture. Paustovsky K. G. As far as I am concerned, today, the culture of Kazakhstan represents a complex of aesthetic values of the Kazakh people, conveyed in original and different spiritual and material forms. As a result of its nature, the culture provides us with the development and enrichment of creative potential. In this essay, my desire is to tell about this and describe our cultures’ incredible and splendid sights.
First of all, I have to highlight that the Kazakhs are an extremely hospitable people. If you come to a Kazakh home unexpected you will be received as if you had been invited. Since early childhood principles of respect of guests and older people as well as peacefulness and tolerance are instilled in every Kazakh and these are the national features of Kazakh culture and tradition. This is why Kazakhstan never had any national or religious conflicts in its history. Traditionally every guest is offered national Kazakh cuisine at the dastarkhan (the low table) in a yurt.
The yurt is one of the most sensible movable house. It is a comfortable and practical home, ideally suited to the local conditions and way of life – one of the greatest inventions of Eurasian nomads. It is easily taken apart (it is said that a Kazakh woman can do it in half an hour) and carried on horses and camels. The yurt consists of three main elements: an extensible trellis base (the kerege), a dome made of poles (the uyk) and a round top (the shanyrak). In ancient times Turks were reputed as the most skillful felt-makers.
Nowadays the Kazakhs use felt to cover the yurt and for its internal decoration, as well as to make carpets, dresses and shoes. The Kazakhs live surrounded with ornaments. They richly decorate their yurts with wall carpets and multi-colored embroideries. To add to it, we have the Kazakh national dress varies. Men wear chapans, a kind of dressing gown with a belt, made of velvet and richly embroidered. They cover their heads with a soft skullcap (tobetai), a tall felt cap (kalpak) or a fox-fur hat with earflaps (malakai).
The women’s national costume consists of a white cotton or colored silk dress, a velvet waistcoat with embroidery and a cap or a silk scarf. Elderly women wear a hood made of white cloth with a hole for the face (the kimeshek). Brides wear a tall pointed, richly decorated hat, topped with feathers (saukele). In terms of Kazakh music and musical instruments, the Kazakhs love the art of words and their akyns (poets), who improvise at public competitions (aitys) accompanied by national stringed musical instruments: the dombra or the kobyz.
As for our national festivals, it is Nauryz (the Islamic New Year). This is one of the biggest holidays in Central Asia. It is celebrated on the day of spring equinox of March 22. On that day, guests are met in beautiful yurts with the traditional Nauryz kozhe dish made of seven traditional ingredients. People respecting this nearly month-long holiday forgive each other debts and offences. Therefore, as well as in other festivals Kazakhs play national games there.
These are usually performed on horse-back and are an opportunity to witness the Kazakh’s outstanding riding skills. Kazakh wrestling, baiga (horse racing), kokpar (a sort of polo game played with a dead goat), kyz-kuu (catch the girl) and alty bakan (six-pole swing), and so on. Taking everything into consideration, personally, I believe that Kazakh culture could give us variety of benefits. That is why Kazakh descendants have to keep it up through their life, treat with respect and gratefulness, and to crown it all, be proud of it.