Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Happy Kazakhstan Independence Day!

We are enjoying a four-day weekend to celebrate Kazakhstan's independence day, December 16th.

Kazakhstan has historically been populated by nomads, and had a few conquerors over the centuries, most notably Genghis Khan (in the 1200s) and later the Russians (mid 1800s).  In 1936, Kazakhstan become formally the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, part of the Soviet Union.  When the Soviet Union dissolved, Kazakhstan was the last of the former Soviet Republics to declare its independence, but it did so on December 16, 1991.

Today celebrations seem to include lots of sales at local stores.  And allegedly concerts.

Several websites describes holiday celebrations like this:
The president and government, accompanied by politicians and public figures, usually head festivities in the presidential palace, Ak Orda, in Astana, capital city of Kazakhstan. Kazakhs celebrate Independence Day by dressing in traditional clothes. The villages set up a yurt, a kind of elaborate tent used by the nomad Kazakhs. Meals are served in the yurt – a dish of horse meat called beshbarmak is very popular. Kazakhs take the opportunity of the day off to visit friends and family, bringing gifts like flowers or candies. It is usual to organize tournaments with traditional games like horse races surrounded by other amusing activities and popular games.
For us the only evidence of celebration we've seen so far is longer-than-usual traffic jams at the mall across the street.  Still hoping to see a parade. or a yurt.

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