Public holidays in Kazakhstan

Info Shymkent - Dances with traditional kazakh dresses during Nauryz

The young country Kazakhstan with it’s different nationalities, religions and cultures has a huge diversity of public holidays.

Info Shymkent will take you through the year and will tell you more about the celebrations and customs that happen on these public holidays. Let’s go!

New Year’s Day

1st January: Like everyone in the world, also Kazakhstan is celebrating the New Year with a public holiday. Private and public fireworks will introduce the new year. It is also common that non-christian kids getting presents from their parents under the Christmas tree. The reason is that Kazakhs not celebrating Christmas at 24th/25th December.

Orthodox Christmas Day

7th January: There are still a huge minority of Orthodox Christians in Kazakhstan. The Christians of Kazakhstan celebrate on this day the Birth of Jesus Christ and children receiving Christmas presents from their parents.

International Women’s Day

8th March: The German Communist Clara Zetkin proposed at the International Socialist Woman’s Conference in 1910 that 8th March should be celebrated every year to honor the hard working women. It became a public holiday in the Soviet Union and remains still in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Women receiving from men very often a bouquet of flowers and small gifts on the International Women’s Day.

Nauryz

20-24th March: Nauryz means New day and is a very important holiday for Kazakhs. The Spring equinox at 21st March marks the beginning of the new Kazakh year. On this days past offences are forgiven and everybody makes wishes for a the new years to relatives and friends. Many people cooking Kazakh cuisine at home and traditional folk dances, dresses, music and games are presented at public places.

Info Shymkent - Nauryz Holidays - Ingredients of Nauryz Kozhe
Ingredients of Nauryz koshe – a dish traditional served during Nauryz celebrations.

Unity Day

1st May: The Unity Day is a celebration of friendship, agreement and understanding. This is very important in Kazakhstan because more than 150 different nations and nationalities with different religions live in the country. In very much cities the different nationalities showing their cultures with wearing National dresses, showing and selling their cuisine and handcrafts on a public place.

Defender of the Fatherland Day

7th May: This public holiday is celebrated by huge military parades, fireworks and ceremonies in the big cities of Kazakhstan. The public recognize this day as Men’s Day – as the opposition of the International Women’s Day.

Victory Day

10th May: The Victory Day is a public holiday to remember the victory of Nazi Germany. Very much Kazakhs fought at the front lines in the West (against Germany) and East (against Japan) and lost their lives.

Day of the Capital

6th July: The Day of the Capital is a public holiday to celebrate the new capital of Kazakhstan – former Astana and now named Nur-Sultan. This public holiday is also the birthday of the 1st president of Kazakhstan. This is not a coincidence.

The Day of the Capital is a public holiday to celebrate the new built city Astana – now Nur-Sultan.

Eid al-Adha

19th / 20th July (in 2021): Eid al-Adha or Feast of Sacrifice is a Islamic public holiday in Kazakhstan. On this day Muslims in Kazakhstan remember the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismael to execute the order he received from God. Sweets and gifts are given to the children and family sacrifice a sheep or goat and inviting relatives and neighbors to celebrate this holiday.

Constitution Day

30th August: On the Constitution Day there are mass festivities, concerts, parades and fireworks in the big cities of Kazakhstan to celebrate the approval of the Kazakh constitution on 30th August in 1995.

Day of the 1st President of the Republic of Kazakhstan

1st of December: This public holiday marks the day when Nursultan Nazarbayev became the first president of Kazakhstan after the first election of the independent country in 1991. There is a huge firework in the capital at the evening to celebrate this historical day.

Kazakhstan Independence Day

16th December: In 1991 on this day Kazakhstan became independent from Soviet Union. This Independence Day of Kazakhstan is celebrated by huge fireworks in the big cities and used to remember the people who gave their life for the Freedom and Independence of the Kazakh people.

Info Shymkent - Gate of the Independence Park in Shymkent
The Independence Park in Shymkent was opened at the 20th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s Independence. (Image: Visit Shymkent)

Kazakhstan has a great rule for working people. Is a public holiday at the weekend the workers don’t lose a day off. The not-working day moves to the Friday or to the next Monday. Isn’t that great?

We hope you appreciate our tour through the public holidays of Kazakhstan and you could learn more about these special days of Central Asia’s biggest country.

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