Indian students, Kazakh Embassy celebrate Nauryz in New Delhi

New Delhi, Mar.29: Kazakhstan was in celebratory mood this week, as the country celebrated the national spring festival of Nauryz- the New Year – on the solar astronomical calendar.

The Embassy of Kazakhstan in New Delhi celebrated it along with Indian students who are studying the Kazakh language and history at the Kazakh Language center, Persian Department, Jamia Milia Islamia.

Indian students presented a program with singing and dance performances, competitions on the history of Kazakhstan and even a puppet show.

As the students said, they wanted to demonstrate their knowledge on Kazakh language and history.

Nauryz is also a national tradition in Kazakhstan that has no direct relationship to Islamic traditions.

The origin of this holiday is rooted in the pre-literate era of human history. It acquired an official status in the Achaemenid Empire as a religious holiday of Zoroastrianism. It continued to be celebrated after the Islamic conquests until the present time. In modern times, it is celebrated in days of the vernal equinox.

Nauryz is a very important holiday for Kazakhs as it marks the beginning of a new year. It is celebrated for several days starting March 21, the day of the spring equinox.

Nauryz means “new day” and has been celebrated in the great steppes since ancient times. This holiday symbolises goodness and wealth, happiness and love. It is also a day that unites because it is celebrated by many nations.

During Nauryz celebrations, past offenses are forgiven and forgotten and everybody makes a wish to leave negativity behind and bring renewal to the New Year.

During the Nauryz holiday, large and small cities, as well as villages become festival centres, felt yurts traditional nomad houses are erected in city centres.

A rich dastarkhan (table) was laid down after the performance. The main dish that was served during Nauryz celebration at the Embassy was Nauryz kozhe, which is the most important meal during Nauryz and is the main symbol of the holiday.

Nauryz kozhe is special for its unique recipe, as traditionally, seven ingredients are added to it. They vary, but usually include water, meat, salt, milk or yoghurt, one type of grain, chosen from rice, corn or wheat and others. Seven ingredients symbolise seven virtues, such as joy, success, intelligence, health, wealth, agility and security.

During the celebration, the kozhe is offered to all guests in any Kazakh city or village. Other traditional Kazakh meals, such as beshbarmak, kuyrdak, baursaks and many types of meals made from milk (yoghurt, kurt, cream, butter and cheese) are also offered.

In 2009, three days beginning each March 21 were declared national holidays in Kazakhstan.

On September 30, 2009, Nauryz was included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO. Since then, March 21 is has been known as the International Day of Nauryz.

Kazakh Language center was opened in Jamilia Milia Islamia in Delhi in 2008 and is opened for all. (ANI)