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Today West Kazakhstan marks Korisu

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

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.

Usually elderly people shake hands, while women touch each other with their shoulders, first with the right, and then with the left shoulder. Irrespective of the age and sex, it is mandatory to visit the elder sister. People say not in vain that “the life path of a girl/woman is difficult and thorny”.

There was an old tradition to hang during  “korisu” clothes from the chest-box and display weapons: spears, swords, shields. This custom was called “to see the new year in”, and its meaning was that both live (humans, animals) and inanimate objects should see the new year in.

“Korisu” earlier was celebrated on March 14, 15 and 16. And very often the sign comes true: on March 14 it snows with small snowballs -  “white snow of nauryz”.

March 14 2014, 10:10

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