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West Kazakhstan marks Korisu

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March 14, Kazakhs in the west of Kazakhstan have started celebration of Korisu, a holiday of seeing each other after the winter.

This day people visit friends and relatives to shake [both] hands saying 'Another year we have lived,' explains Utepbergen Alimgereyev, a local historian. 

Since old times, Turkic peoples accepted March 14 as the beginning of the year. Ancient Kazakhs, whose main business was cattle breeding, used to count animals in the herd a week before Northward equinox. Happy to have survived another long winter, the nomads visited each other to discuss losses or a crop and to prepare for Nauryz [Novruz] holiday celebrated March 22.

The custom has survived in Atyrau, Mangystau, West Kazakhstan Oblasts and some parts of Aktobe, while it no longer lives in the rest of the country.

In the south and other regions of Kazakhstan, people use the term 'korisu' for the rite of farewell to a deceased person, unlike in the west, where it is a greeting to a new year, new life, the historian says. 

Traditionally, every Kazakh family cooked meat inviting no specific guest. People would visit at least five households where live people of senior age.


March 14 2013, 14:08

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