By Zeena Urynbassarova
On March 23 the residents of the small Saraishyk village celebrated Nauryz- the Coming of Spring or Kazakh New Year not in a usual way, at the cost of the local budget, but this event could be truly called an "alternative" celebration of Nauryz.
People showed initiative of the "masses" and without waiting for the local government to arrange a celebration for them, decided to chip in, put up a "yurt" felt house, made with their own hands a huge swing-"altybakan", cooked meat a la Kazakh - beshbarmak outside in fresh air and invited all villagers to the party.
Without traditional solemn speeches, without waiting for the "bosses" to come, and without invited singers and performers, with no final fireworks, people sang, danced and played dombra (music instrument). Ederly people reminiscenced about old times and gave their blessings to the younger generation and everybody was happy meet each other.
Also unlike the yurts installed in the city where it is impossible to get inside, here the doors of the felt house was wide open and everybody was welcome. There was enough food for two dastarkhans- tables. One for adults and another one for children - "bala chai" (kids' tea party).
The organizers of the event installed sports equipment and and robust looking countryfellows competed in various sports activities for the title of the strongest man in aul (village). The audience showered applauses to Aslan Sankibaev who lifted 24 kg dumbells 60 times, as well as to Kalbai Akhangaliev who lifted 70-kg barbells 10 times.
There were other competitions in armwrestling, tug-of war, "Kazak kures" wrestling. There was also a theatrical performance of old custom called "tsau-kesu" - cutting of "hobbles" of the child who is making first steps.
It seemed that everything at the event was organized according to a usual scenario, still it was not officious. It was warm and cozy and people had fun, as they used to have it once in the Great steppe …
Food items and consumer goods were sold from two Gazel two shop trailers, parked near the felt house. Shop assistants displayed stunningly affordable prices and it was obvious that they were here not to make good profit, but to give chance to parents to buy gifts to their children. So it added to the good mood that was present at this event.
I was leaving Saraishyk with a feeling of gratitude that I was invited to such beautiful celebration of life event.
Photos taken by the author