Institute of Seismology, National Academy of Sciences

Kyrgyz Republic, Bishkek

Bright Holiday "Nooruz" in Kyrgyzstan
  There are various traditions and holidays in Kyrgyzstan like in other countries around the world. Holidays are very important for Kyrgyz people, because they bring people together. One of the most popular and most spirited Great public festivals in Kyrgyzstan is Nooruz - the day of the vernal equinox - when ancient people made sacrifices to the sun. Ancient people used such large pot to cook a sacrificial horse and then ate it together. All wars and quarrels stopped, offences were forgiven and everybody was equal and welcomed for festive table "dastorkon" particularly during this holiday.
  Kyrgyz people began New Year from Nooruz and waited successes in further life. New Year Ceremonies done by our ancestors were developed long time ago. Kyrgyz people burnt out the branch of "archa" (fir) and smoked own houses as well as all members of family saying: "Alas-alas, ar baleden kalas" that means "Away all disasters and misfortunes. At that ceremony they hoped that Nooruz bring to theirs houses happiness, prosperity and good luck. All members of family prepared new clothes for holiday preferred gaudy colors: red, white and blue.

Kids in national dress
  Porridge made from wheat, barley and millet usually was cooked in New Year Night. It had various names such as "keje", "kocho", "oruzdama" or "nooruz kocho". "Sumolok" was cooked too. Mother Umai inspires the traditional dish sumolok that women made during this spring night. Just few people know how to cook this now. Judging by the legends and stories wheat's grains should plant on wet material seven days before holiday and always should water. By Nooruz it comes up. So, wheat is ground again adding flour, rice and nuts, then mix by water. This mixture is cooked for 24 hours.

  Necessarily, forty-one stones should be added to this porridge. Why stones... well there is another New Year legend about this. One poor woman decided to cheat own kids when nothing left to eat. She put stones into copper and began to cook them saying that soon it get ready. Children couldn't wait and fell asleep as well we their mother. But she glanced at copper in the morning and it was full of delicious food such as heaven's gift. Since that stones are cooked in ritual copper... Every family should cook sumolok. Everyone should taste it at least just a little. Even strangers were treated by sumolok with wish of Peaceful and Wealthy Year. Neighbors were treated by these foods. People wished to each other happiness, health, prosperity and honesty. Nooruz is celebrated in spring as a National New Year in Kyrgyzstan.

  Nooruz is celebrated in Central Asia and in some Muslim countries until the present day. March 21-22 is Day of Vernal Equinox, when Muslims celebrate spring holiday New Year-Nooruz. It celebrates in March 21 in Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan (Nowruz bairam), in yrgyzstan (Nooruz), in Uzbekistan (Navruz) and in March 22 in Kazakhstan (Nauryz meiramy), in Tajikistan (Navruz). In soviet times celebrating New Year in spring was forbidden, because it resembled religion. The Kyrgyz picked up this tradition after independence, but had forgotten many of the prescriptions during more than seventy years of Soviet rule.

Kurdish dance
  The celebration of Nooruz that originates from Persia has to be reinvented from the stories that went on from mouth to ear. The word itself literally means "new day" (Persian two words "NOW"(new) and "ROOZ" (day)) in Persian (Farsi) language and the festival marks the beginning of the solar year as well as the New Year on the Iranian and several other national calendars. At its core, the Nooruz festival celebrates the awakening of the natural life. This awakening symbolizes the triumph of good, winning against the evil forces of darkness that are represented by the Winter. Nooruz is the point when the oppressive presence of the cold Winter finally begins to retrieve with the commencement of the lively and hopeful Spring. This symbolic and poetic change corresponds to the mathematical instance of the sun leaving the zodiac of Pisces and entering the zodiacal sign of Aries, also known as the Spring Equinox. People have applied the Nooruz spirit to every dark challenge that has come their way. This spirit has made Nooruz far more than just a New Year celebration !

Yurta and girls
  Kyrgyzstan celebrates this festival during more than 10 years. In this day Kyrgyz people say to each other good wishes in every town, in every village, in every family independently of nation. This worldly holiday, namely New Day gathers a large number of people in city center. A lot of yurta (traditional nomad's tent "boz ui" by name) are placed at the Center Square. And nowadays holiday celebration is held over almost same scenario. It starts early in the morning and ends late in the evening. In other words, the official grand opening of holiday is held at the Ala-Too Square with participation of President of Kyrgyz Republic Askar Akayev and other republics statesmen and men of science. Citizens and guests (visitors) of Republic are also invited to festive actions. President A.Akayev delivers his complimentary speech. In spite of all difficulties People of Kyrgyzstan live in Peace, in Harmony and mutual Consent. As same as long time ago the branch of "archa"(fir) is smoked away and spell of "Alas, alas, ar baleden kalas" ("Away all disasters and misfortunes") is resounded over people. Then theatrical performances are presented like concert of folklore groups, performance of dance groups etc.

Dance with peace kerchief
  People dress up and sing, dance, and play national instruments. Girls dance that national dance which is called "Dance of the flowers". Boys play a national instrument called "Komuz". During that time, people in the street of different nations, sexes and ages walk, talk, dance national dance, eat, play, and enjoy the holiday or just have good time with their families. At the same time from the early in the morning trade-fair, sale of farm products and consumer goods are gone off at the old Square. And many citizens buy a lot off young plants.
  People also invite their relatives, friends and neighbors for dinner. Nooruz is also known as a time for sharing. It's a time when people share their dreams, thoughts and hopes. Usually people cook various kinds of national dishes. One of them is Beshbarmak (word-for-word translation is "Five fingers")- combination of meat cut into small particles and noodles. Up to now Kyrgyz People eat this by hand; the name of Beshbarmak came from this.
  Simultaneously, festive actions are held in different regions of town and Republic. Then in afternoon Nooruz celebration goes on at Republican Race Track "Ak-Kula" where national equestrian sport games are taken place such as "Kok-Boryu", "Odarysh", "Kyz kuumai" etc. In the evening concert of songsters and dance groups is held at the Ala-Too Square. Finally, come to night holiday show finishes by fireworks.
  Nooruz is one of the most amazing, special holidays Kyrgyz people celebrate each spring.

Old men