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National holidays of Kyrgyzstan

National holidays of Kyrgyzstan

7 January – Christmas

Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on 6-7 January. Festive Christmas services are held in all the churches. The day before the festival, 5 January, Holy Days come to an end. On Wednesday and Friday, the post is cancelled. The night before Christmas and Epiphany, popularly called the Christmas Eve, – special food – sochivo (juice from the seeds) is put on a table in the evenings. To tenderise sochivo, wheat or rice is well boiled and honey or sugar syrup is added. This dish came to end the post. On Christmas Eve, it was common not to eat until the first star in the sky appears in memory of the Eastern tradition, according to which the new day begins, not when people are awake, and not at midnight, but as soon as the sun is set from the previous day. In the Christmas days, it was customary to go from home to home with a star and glorify Christ – carolling. There were special songs – carols, that youth and children sang going from house to house, they were treated everywhere. Usually those who carolled, disguised so that they were not recognised. The time between Christmas and Epiphany was called Christmas, and the night before Christmas – Holy night. On these days, festivities were held, sliding from the mountains and horse riding also took place. In Orthodox churches, holiday services begin on Christmas Eve with the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. All-night vigil consists of great compline, lithium, Matins and the first hour. History. The Nativity of Christ (Christmas) – the great Christian festival, established in memory of the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. The Orthodox Church is one of the twelve great feasts of the festival. In view of the liturgical celebration of the most important memories and secrets (along with Passover) salvation of the human race – the incarnation of God in the world and the coming of the Son of God, begotten in the flesh – is one of the most important days of the liturgical year and one of the most important holidays in the most Christian denominations. Currently, almost all Christians celebrate it on 25 December (in accordance with a chosen community calendar style. In most of the Russian Orthodox Churches it is 7 January by the new style. Day of 25 December was established in the Roman Church in the early IV century. Perhaps, the choice of 25th December is associated with the pagan solar celebration of “Birthday of Invincible Sun” (after the winter solstice, the sun starts to come daily). The date of the celebration of Christmas by Christians is not related to the real birth date of Jesus Christ

Constitution Day

On 5 May, 1993, a Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic was adopted. Since then, Republic of Kyrgyzstan became known as the Kyrgyz Republic, and the Constitution of the Kyrgyz SSR, which was adopted in 1978, has lost its power. Since the adoption of the Constitution, repeatedly there were changes and amendments, it was drastically edited three times (February 2003, November 2006, December 2006). On 14 September, 2007, The Constitutional Court overturned the action of the November and December editions of the Constitution. In turn, the Constitution amended on 18 February, 2003 came into effect. On 21 October, 2007, by the Decree of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic a referendum was held, which adopted a new Constitution proposed by the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, K. Bakiev, which was signed by him on 23 October 2007. On 27 June, 2010 another national referendum on a new constitution took place. On 10 October, 2010 there were early parliamentary elections, where Kyrgyzstan became the only parliamentary republic in Central Asia.

Defender of the Fatherland Day

This celebration was set for military-patriotic education of the younger generation, the creation of conditions for the provision of honour and respect for the dignity of war veterans and the Armed Forces of the Kyrgyz Republic. The history of this festival dates back to the revolutionary past of Russia. On 23 February, 1918 in St. Petersburg, a Red Army day was held under the slogan of defending the socialist homeland from the “Kaiser’s troops”. Since 1922, honouring the Red Army and the Navy, acquired a character of a great national holiday. Since then, every year on 23 February in the USSR, this was marked as the “Red Army Day”. But since 1946, it has been called “The Day of the Soviet Army and Navy”. Since 2003, the “Defender of the Fatherland Day” in Kyrgyzstan is a public holiday declared to be an official holiday. It is a day when women give special attention and gifts to their husbands, fathers and sons.

Independence Day

On 31 August, 1991,an extraordinary session of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan adopted a resolution on the “Declaration on State Independence of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan”. Kyrgyz Republic was declared an independent, sovereign, democratic state.

International Women’s Day

Today the festival has lost its historic mission. It was transformed into a celebration of the beginning of spring and a day of giving attention to women and their beauty. In the early spring of 1857, textile workers in New York staged a protest against low wages, poor working conditions and long hours. They demanded higher wages, better working conditions and equal rights for women. The demonstration caused a lot of noise. This event even began to be called – Women’s Day … On the last Sunday in February of 1908, thousands of women, again took to the streets of New York. The demonstration was timed to the “Women’s Day” in 1857. Women began to demand the re-election votes, protested against the terrible working conditions and in particular against child labour. In 1909, the Women’s Day was once again marked by women’s marches and strikes. In 1910, socialists and feminists held Women’s Day across the country. Later that same year, the delegates travelled from the U.S. to Copenhagen for the Second International Conference of Socialist Women, where they met with Clara Zetkin … Inspired by the actions of the “American socialist sisters”, Clara Zetkin proposed that the question of the conference would be, for women around the world, to choose a particular day when they will draw public attention to their demands. The conference, which was attended by over 100 women from 17 countries, supported the proposal by a vote, the result of which was the emergence of International Day of Solidarity in the fight for women’s economic, social and political equality. But the exact date of the day at this conference has not been determined. The first International Women’s Day was held on 19 March, 1911 in Germany, Austria, Denmark and some other European countries. This date was chosen by women in Germany, because on this day in 1848, the King of Prussia, under the threat of armed insurrection, promised reforms including the failed introduction of women’s suffrage. In 1912, this day, women celebrated on 12 May, not 19 March. Only since 1914, this day was eventually celebrated on 8 March. Since Russia was living by Julian calendar as opposed to the rest of Europe, the International Women’s Day was not celebrated on 8 March but on 23 February. In the USSR, 8 March has become a holiday only after 1965. In 1977, the United Nations adopted resolution 32/142, calling on all countries to proclaim 8 March as the day of the battle for women’s rights – International Women’s Day.

Labour Day

On 1 May, 1886 American workers went on strike, putting forward a demand of an 8-hour workday. The strike and the accompanying demonstration ended in violent clashes with police. In July 1889, Paris Congress of Second International decided to conduct annual 1 May demonstrations in memory of the workers of Chicago. First day of international solidarity of workers was recorded in 1890 in Austria-Hungary, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Spain, Italy, USA, France, Norway, Sweden and some other countries. For a long time, May Day has been a symbol of revolution, the irreconcilable class struggle. International Workers’ Day is now celebrated in 142 countries. Now 1 May turned into a celebration honouring the man – worker. Also this holiday is now more associated with spring.


21 March – Spring Equinox – a date that is remarkable, astronomical and annually celebrated around the world. On this day, darkness and light are equally divided. In the old days, when there were no calendars, spring was determined by the sun. It is believed that from this day renovation began in nature: the first spring thunder, swelling buds on the trees, lush greenery sprouting. Navruz translated from Persian stands for Noo – new, Ruz – day that is New Year’s Day. The month of March was called Navruz by the Kyrgyz. If boys were born on this day, they were called, according to tradition, Nooruzbay or Nooruzbek, and girls just Navruz or Navruzgul. If it snowed on this day, it was considered a good sign. Even a girl’s beauty in the Kyrgyz legends is compared with white snow of Navruz since in March snow is usually soft and fluffy with a special whiteness. On the day of the holiday, every family displayed dastorkon – a white tablecloth with various food. To treat the neighbours, a traditional stew was prepared, it was called sumelek which was made of wheat malt with added flour, butter and sugar. On the eve, people cleaned their house, paid off their debts, made up with everyone who they quarrelled with. As the old folks claimed, when Naruz entered their home all disease and failure would bypass them by. The night before the celebration, to mark the wishes of the abundance of milk, crops and rain, all tanks were filled with milk, ayran, grain, spring water: and on the of the holiday, everyone tried to be in a good mood, they hugged each other when meeting, expressed the best wishes, that all the troubles and woes turned away from them. People tried to dress neat, clean and, if possible wear new clothing. At noon, the whole ail prepared for the festival. At a fixed location near the village, a bull was slaughtered and its meat was cooked to make Navruz kezhe or chon kezhe – “big soup” – one of the most ancient ritual meals, which was prepared from many components: meat, fat, rice, peas, barley, wheat, corn, talkan , flour, millet, sorghum, potatoes and spices. Food was prepared in such a quantity so that there was enough for everyone. After the meal, games were played, they included “aykysh-uykysh” which means “towards each other”, and “audaryspek”, during which the horsemen pulled each other out of the saddle. Holiday Naruz did not go without wrestling, participants of which included girls. A girl would call out a horseman on a match with a condition that if he wins, he will get the right to her hand and heart, and if she wins, the young man would obey her and carry out any of her wishes. Therefore, Navruz often turned into a wedding celebration. The day would conclude with a performance, where two akyns (poets/singers) compete with the songs and poems. Their contest would stop with the sun setting over the horizon, where the good triumphs over evil. After that, a large fire would be burnt, and the people with lighted torches would go around all the neighbourhoods of the village, singing and dancing, the children would be jumping over the fire, and the adults would say: “Go away, go away, go away misfortunes”, “New Year came, the old year gone” – thereby completing the holiday of spring renewal and equinoxes. Spring New Year’s Holiday Equinox – Navruz – emerged in Khorasan (Persia) over 3000 years ago and has spread to all neighbouring countries. The roots of Nooruz go to Zoroastrianism. It is an ancient agricultural festival, origin of which is associated with the emergence of the agricultural calendar.

The New Year

A New Year – a family holiday. Many people prefer to celebrate it in a narrow family circle. For children it means Christmas tree, holiday, lots of gifts, waiting for a miracle, and for adults, it is a return to their childhood, to the magical world when Santa Claus / Father Frost and his helper, Snow Maiden, bring gifts. History of the New Year has about 25 centuries. According to scientists, this custom was first born in Mesopotamia at the end of the IV millennium BC. The ancients celebrated the New Year in March. It was in March when the field works began, and the ancient Romans considered the first month of the year to be March. Only in 46 BC Roman emperor Julius Caesar changed it to the beginning of the year on 1 January. In 1699, Peter I issued a decree “On the celebration of the New Year”, which ordered “to count new years” from 1 January (1700). The decree also said: “And as a sign of good beginnings and fun to congratulate each other a Happy New Year, wishing prosperity in the affairs and well-being in the family. In honour of the New Year, decorations with fir trees must be displayed, children must be amused and sleigh ridden from the mountains. And for adults, not to commit drunkenness and fights – there are enough days for that”. New Year’s celebrations began with noisy feasts, night festivals, dances around the decorated Christmas tree, and fireworks. Under Peter I, masquerades became popular in Russia. Morning bells started ringing. In the evening, all the streets and houses brightly were lit. After the fireworks, celebration ended with a dance ball. Empress Elizabeth continued the tradition of entertainment, but in a civilised manner. She arranged luxurious Christmas trees, and invited up to 15 thousand visitors. Even under Catherine II, celebrations were no less of a grand scale, but now “holidays of belly” were in the foreground: the best food products were saved and the best tables were prepared for the New Year. Up until 1852, Christmas trees decorated with toys were only in the palace and the houses of Germans of St. Petersburg, until Nicholas I ordered to display it on the station square. Germans even taught Russians to decorate Christmas trees: St. Petersburg bakers, in the 40-s of the XIX century, organised a mass sale of small trees with a pre-attached candles and sweets – by the end of XIX century Christmas trees were already all over Russia, even in village huts! It is then, the custom and tradition to celebrate the New Year with champagne was spread. In 1914, Nicholas II announced a Christmas tree to be the “enemy, German ploy”. Only Lenin exonerated a Christmas tree: on 31 December, 1917, in all the districts of Petrograd “proletarian” Christmas trees were lit for the children of workers. A Christmas star on top was replaced by a red, five-pointed one. However, hunger began in the city, and soon Lenin banned Christmas trees. In 1935, Stalin rehabilitated Christmas trees. From 1 January 1947, it became an official “red day calendar”. The history of Father Frost (Santa Claus). In some countries, dwarves considered to be the ancestors of Father Frost, in others – the medieval wandering jugglers or stray toy sellers. The image of Father Frost was forming over centuries.There is a long story even about the suit of Father Frost. Originally, Father Frost was depicted in the cloak. In the XIX century, the Dutch depicted Santa with a pipe, cleaning chimneys, into which he threw his Christmas gifts. It is then, they put on him a bright red coat with white fur. Later, in America, Father Frost (Santa Claus) was “given” a beard. Soon in England, there was a final version of Father Frost – a fat old man with a beard.The Snow Maiden received her modern image in 1935 in the Soviet Union, after an official authorisation of New Year celebrations. The Snow Maiden performs on par with Father Frost, as his granddaughter, facilitator and mediator in the communication between him and the children.

The Day of the Great October Socialist Revolution

Prior to 1991, 7 November was celebrated in the Soviet Union as the main national holiday, Day of the Great October Socialist Revolution. On the night of 7 to 8 November (New Style) 1917, there was an uprising in Petrograd, committed by the Russian proletariat. Armed workers, soldiers and sailors seized post, telephone, telegraph, and the Winter Palace. The Provisional Government was overthrown and proclaimed Soviet power, which lasted more than seventy years. Until the early 1990s, it was the most important holiday of the Soviet Union and celebrated for two days – 7 and 8 November. Seventh November was celebrated with a military parade and a rally on the central square and squares of regional cities. Kyrgyzstan is the only country in Central Asia, where the Day of the Great October Socialist Revolution is marked. Seventh November is an official weekend and a public holiday. The initiative of the return of the holiday belongs to the parliamentary faction of the Party of Communists of Kyrgyzstan. The law was passed in late 2001 and the holiday was first marked on 7 November, 2002. Traditionally on this day, at the square of I. V. Lenin (Old Square) in Bishkek, and other ​​regional squares, a rally is organised by the Party of Communists of Kyrgyzstan and the Communist Party of Kyrgyzstan, laying flowers at the monument to the leader of the world proletariat.

Victory Day

Ninth of May, 1945 is the Victory Day over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War, which began on 22 June, 1941. Victory Day of the Soviet people is the symbol of the steadfast spirit and heroism. Victory Day is also a day of memory. All the years of this terrible war of the 20th century killed more than 28 million of Soviet citizens, including more than 130,000 of Kyrgyz citizens. Victory Day is celebrated since 1946, however,this day only became non-working, a day off, since 1965. In Europe and other countries, this holiday falls on 8 May, as the act of surrender of Germany was signed late at night on 8 May, when it was already 9 May in Moscow at the time.

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