New Year is one of the most popular holidays in Kazakhstan. Its popularity could be compared with the celebration of Christmas in the West.
Celebration of the New Year is traditionally begin in the evening on December, 31. The mass celebrations are being held in towns and villages right near the decorated New Year tree, and such celebrations are supposed to be accompanied by Father Frost and the snow maiden. Sometimes Father Frost could be called Ayaz Ata, which could be translated as "Father Frost". In ancient times, the Kazakhs had no Father Frost, so according to the ancient tradition, the elder Kydyr-baba bypassed the land on the night before the vernal equinox in order to set plants.
It became a tradition that In the New Year’s Eve the head of state congratulates the people of Kazakhstan. Under the chime of bells, everyone congratulate each other with the Happy New Year, wishing success and victories in the coming year.
The Old New Year (Orthodox New Year) is being celebrated in the night from 13 to 14 January.
Also, the Nauryz holiday is very popular in Kazakhstan; it could be translated from the ancient Iranian as "the new day." Nauryz is celebrated on March 22, in the day of the vernal equinox.
It became a tradition to organize the mass celebrations during the Nauryz, many families prepare the traditional Kazakh dish "Nauryz-kozhe", it consist of seven components, symbolizing fertility and wealth: water, salt, milk, cereals and more. In the old days, there was also a tradition to meet the relatives and friends, to share news and start new business.
There were a few entertainments available during the holiday, for example the various games, horse racing and swing "Altybakan" (six columns).
The New Year (January 1) and Nauryz (March 22) are being celebrated in Kazakhstan. Accordingly, the January 1-2 and March 21-23 are the non-working days.