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The Kazak ethnic minority (3)

(People's Daily)

11:13, August 08, 2011

The Kazaks' festivals and ceremonies are related to religion. The Corban and Id El-fitr festivals are occasions for feasts of mutton and mutual greetings. The Nawuruz Festival in the first month of the lunar calendar is a grand occasion to say good-bye to the old, usher in the new, and hope for a better year in stockbreeding. Every family entertains with "kuji," a food made of mutton, milk dough, barley, wheat and other delicacies. They give feasts when there are births, engagements or weddings.

The Kazaks, men and women alike, are good horse riders. Young men like wrestling and a game in which horsemen compete for a sheep. There are horsemanship displays on the grasslands during festivals. The young people like to play a "girl-running-after-boy" game. The boys and girls ride their horses to an appointed place; the boys can ¡°flirt with¡± the girls on the way. However, on the way back, the girls chase the boys and are entitled to whip them if they can as a way of "vengeance." Such merry-making more often than not terminates with love and marriage.

This ethnic minority has its own rich literary heritage. As there were many illiterates, folk literature handed down orally was quite developed. After liberation, ballad singers, or "Akens," made great efforts to collect, study and re-create old verses, tales, proverbs, parables and maxims. Many outstanding Kazak classic and contemporary works have been published in the Kazak language.

Kazak music and dance also have their own unique features and are very popular. The Kazaks like summer the best, terming it merry-making time. They often sing and dance throughout summer nights on the pastures. The two-stringed instrument is their favorite.

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