«We need to look into the past in order to understand the present and foresee the future»
N.A.Nazarbayev

Thoughts On Kazakh Hospitality

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Thoughts On Kazakh Hospitality
Kazakhs have been distinguished by traditional hospitality, which was formed many centuries ago. A simple Kazakh law of hospitality is that you cannot rest until after a guest has been hosted.

Nowadays, Kazakhs are unlikely to let an unknown person into the house, but in rural areas, the tradition of "God's guest" is sacredly greeted. Welcoming a guest is a huge event requiring a proper preparation for any Kazakh. No wonder the popular proverb says that "Even a 9-year-old child, who came from afar, hastens to welcome the 90-year-old elder." Since ancient times, the custom has been preserved to this day, when fellow villagers, relatives, neighbors alternately invite to their house to taste the food of a guest from far away, despite the fact that he came to someone alone. In modern Kazakhstan, it looks like this: a relative from distant Astana comes to the village and visits a few days from fellow villagers, relatives and neighbors of their loved ones.

Absolutely all Kazakhs, like one, without exception, believe that hospitality has always been in their blood. I was wondering where and from what in their blood, perhaps, the most positive trait, hospitality. There is a huge number of legends about Kazakh hospitality, according to one of them, a man was swallowed up by the earth for not accepting the guest, and his cattle disappeared without benefiting the people.

Let's move for a moment, at least by the means of our imagination, back to the past and work out this issue together, and I'll just guide you in the direction of your thought. So, the Kazakh people was at that time a nomadic people. The territory of the Kazakh land was boundless steppe. Each kind, and every Kazakh had a certain route, by which they drove the cattle. For housing, they used yurts, extremely convenient for their way of life. And here on the spacious Kazakh territory there is a traveler, for example, say, he came from the modern territory of Russia.

If the guest could not stay at the meal, then he had to at least pinch a piece of bread. This custom remains in Kazakhstan to this day. You'll stop here like this for a neighbor for a couple of minutes, be sure to eat something. Refusal is impossible - disrespect for the dastarkhan. So, you do not want the owner to always have prosperity. During the feast the honorable guest is served with a sheep's head to this day. He must share it according to the ritual among all those sitting behind the dastarkhan. As already mentioned, the table is laid out all, and the guest is forbidden to make comments about what he is eating wrong.

At the end of the 19th century, the Russian researcher Victor von Herne wrote: "As Kazakhs ... in general and are still distinguished by the affability, good nature and hospitality, which they built even in the cult." The guest was always under the protection of the owner. One of the nineteenth-century German explorers of Kazakhstan, F. von Hellwald, wrote: "Kirghiz-kaisaks are extremely hospitable, so that a stranger can safely sleep in a yurt without fear of being robbed or killed." The nomads had a custom of konak-as, according to which every Kazakh was obliged to provide free refreshments and lodging for any guest. In case of refusal, the traveler who remained without food and shelter could make a statement about this to the wise people. For non-observance and insult of the sacred steppe custom of hospitality, mean hosts were punished with a fine - at-ton ayip. The custom of auz tiyu (to taste a treat) was an ancient custom of the Kazakh people. Whoever came into the house, the yurt, the owners did not let him go until he had eaten the treats.

Among the nomads there was also the custom of the erulik - the tradition of inviting new settlers to visit relatives and neighbors. New settlers who moved from another locality, relatives or neighbors invited to a treat. By this they expressed their attention and good intentions. This custom helped the settlers to get used to a new place of residence. The steppe people widely used the custom of kalau, when a guest could choose any thing that attracted him in the house. At the same time the owner could not refuse the guest. Thus, the foundations of friendly relations were formed. This custom could be used and kindik sheshe (midwife) after a successful birth and the birth of a healthy child.
 
Qymyz-muryndyq was a custom associated with the season of cooking koumiss. With the beginning of the summer, the season of milking mares was opened. On this occasion the villagers were invited. They were treated to their first koumiss. To the organizers of the qymyz-muryndyk the aksakals gave their bata (blessings). The Kazakhs also had a custom of zhylu. Its meaning was that fire victims or families affected by raids or harsh winters, fires, floods or famine, received help from monotheists or homosexuals. Victims were cattle, clothing, housing and utensils. This was a manifestation of compassion and compassion. Those who refused to provide such assistance could be excluded from the family and expelled. As a rule, expelled from the clan could not take advantage of the protection of relatives and had virtually no rights. He himself and his property became the prey of the first oncoming robber.

In the steppes, the custom of the zhurtshylyq spread widely. Its essence consisted in the fact that the homogeneous people helped the fellow tribesman in returning the debt. The council of elders decided to ask the people for help. This was an indicator of the cohesion of the collective, a manifestation of charity and concern for one's neighbors and relatives. The custom of the asar was a tradition of the steppe people for joint unpaid labor. People gathered from all over the village and did their common work. For example, in the same way, winter dwellings were built, dug wells, and also erected premises for cattle. Asar was a vivid reflection of the brotherhood and unity of kinsmen. Not to come to the declared asar was considered an unworthy act, which was always condemned by the steppe people. At the beginning of the 20th century, Kazakhs, using this custom, built universally secular schools and mosques.
 
Every steppe man pledged to help the drowning man, to provide water, drink to the thirsty. Homelands helped in finding the cattle, in organizing the chase after horse thieves. Every steppe man in case of extreme need and in case requiring no delay, had the right to use a horse from the herd of any tribe. On this special permission the owner was not required. In case of refusal, he was sentenced to a fine at-tone and subjected to public condemnation. At the meeting of the two Kazakhs, the younger one began to greet the elder with the words 'Assalaumagaleikum' ('peace to your house'). The elder undertook to reply to 'uagaleikumassalam' ('and you too'). After the exchange of greetings, the Kazakhs inquired about the condition of livestock and relatives with the words. Kazakhs answered: 'Thank God, how about you?'. These greetings were obligatory and even for those who are completely unfamiliar with each other. 

One of the rules of the steppe etiquette and the respectful attitude of the Kazakhs to the elders was the addition of a particle ake/eke to the basis of the word: Kazbek-Kazeke, Dihan-Dake, Baurzhan-Bauke. This was written by one of the well-known scientists that one of the rules of Kyrgyz courtesy and respect for elders is the pronunciation of their name with the addition of a particle of eke. Married women from a special sign of respect for men should not have been called by the real name of any of the relatives of their husband. When referring to the father-in-law and mother-in-law, the common words Ata and Yene were used. Younger brothers of the husband were called gentle names: zharkyn - radiant/bright, ainam - my mirror, bauyrym - relative, etc. Other relatives came up with new and euphonious names. Kazakhs did not cross the path of pregnant women and older by age. The daughters-in-law tried not to come across the house to the eyes of the father-in-law and the elder brothers of her husband, while trying not to show their faces.
 

In the absence of the owner, no adult man had the right to enter a yurt or a house. At the entrance to the house, the Kazakhs always left their weapons behind the yurt. At the entrance to the khan left even the whip. A person who returned from a long trip, travel or from a fair, brought neighbors, relatives and relatives various gifts - a bazarlyq (gift from the trip). Aksakals of aul during meal chose tidbits and treated participants of a meal, native and visitors. This custom was called asatu.
 

After a festive meal, women took presents for children and relatives who stayed at home. This custom was called sarcity and testified that people respected food and, as it were, attached relatives to the holiday of the remaining house. Among the nomads there was the custom of transferring gifts - salemdeme. For a long time people who did not see each other gave gifts to each other in the form of jewelry, souvenirs, treats, etc. The one who received the sacemdeme gave the baht (blessing). Guests and gifts were shared between relatives, friends and neighbors. In order to inform the good news, the steppe people spoke. The person who brought the glad tidings that spoke this word was well endowed. During the hunt, the young always gave his best prey to the aksakal, who was with him. This was done without any reminder and coercion. From ancient times among the Kazakhs there was the custom of zholayaq (partying). The essence of it was that, when a resident of the village before going to another place of residence necessarily collected the whole village and arranged a farewell meal. To leave the village unexpectedly, without notifying the residents of the clan about their move, was considered an inexcusable step and was condemned by the society. Those leaving left memorable gifts to their closest relatives. Village residents, turn, wished them a good journey and prosperity in a new place. Elders blessed them.

In the traditional Kazakh society, there was a cult of respect for elders, regardless of tribal, tribal, zhuz and national identity. In addition to the sultans and batyrs, the Kirghiz-Kaisaks enjoy special respect and honor also all the old men, regardless of their origin. On all the holidays they were given honorable places. At meetings, they played a prominent role. To their words the youth listened almost unquestioningly. For a young man, it was considered a sign of the highest reward to get a handful of meat from a common dish from the hands of an aksakal. The younger brother without the permission of the elder never sat down at the table.

The youngest never crossed the road to the eldest. This rule also applies to women to men. The youngest in age was categorically forbidden to raise his voice to the elders. At conversation the younger never interrupted the senior. The offended verbally senior by age had to pay him a robe or ask for forgiveness by bowing to his feet. Before being sent to a long journey and establishing a family, the young received the blessings of the elders. Going to war, the Kazakhs also received the parting words of respected and revered elders.

Among the Kazakhs, the custom of friendship-twinning or tamyr bolu has become widespread. It was fixed solemnly with the participation of witnesses. This ceremony was fixed by kissing a saber or dagger and giving an oath in eternal fidelity and friendship. As a sign of friendship they gave valuable things. Tamir bolu could always stay for the night, use his protection, support and patronage. With the advent of the Russian Cossacks and the resettled peasantry at the borders and in the territory of Kazakhstan, the custom of tamyr bolu spread between the cattle-breeding Kazakh and the settled Slavic population. Almost every nomad had his own tamyr among Russian peasants and linear Cossacks. This contributed to the spread of friendship between peoples. As a rule, they knew the language and respected each other's culture. It was a manifestation of the strongest friendship. Friends were obligated to always help each other. They could allow themselves to take from each other everything they could like. Often, nomadism was transferred from fathers to sons.

During the studied period, Kazakhs still had unique customs and rites in the field of family and marriage. At the birth of the child there was a rite of naming - 'azan shaqyryp at qoiyu'. The essence of this ritual was that after the birth of the child the aksakals of the village were collected and with the morning azan gave him a name. Usually the name was given by the elder of the relatives. He, reading the sacred words from the Koran, three times loudly pronounced the name in the child's ear, calling him. When they reached the age of 3, 5 or 7, the Kazakhs organized a ritual of the sundet toy. It was a circumcision rite. Guests were invited, food was prepared, sports were arranged. The child received the blessing of respectable and respected aksakals. The future marriage of his son always worried his parents. The bride was looked after in childhood. There were cases when they became matchmakers before the birth of children. We were looking for a suitable family of good, noble and respected people. They made a matchmaking ceremony. Marriages between members of the same kind were banned until the 7th generation.
 
Wedding ceremony was composed of the following elements: collusion, travel of parents, visiting the groom of the bride, the wedding at the groom with the reading of prayer. The bride's father treated the arrived matchmakers with kuyruk-baur, a ritual treat from the liver and fattening fat. This ritual dish confirmed the fact of matchmaking. It imposed certain obligations on the parties involved. After this ceremony it was impossible to retreat. After the official part of the matchmaking, the groom's party paid kalym (qalynmal), mainly, cattle. Its size depended on the sufficiency of those wishing. The dimensions of the kalym stretched from 5 to 1,000 horses. During the wedding gave kiits - the custom of giving gifts to matchmakers in the form of clothes, cuts of material, cattle. They exchanged qorzhyns (gifts).

The ceremony of marriage was called neke qyu. Kazakh traditional society paid much attention to the preparation of the dowry, which was collected by the future bride from childhood. The dowry included yurts, carpets, clothes, things, dishes, cattle, etc. During the studied period, polygamy was common among the steppe people: a wealthy and physically healthy part of men had up to 4 wives for paying the kalym. Huns and sultans could allow even more wives. Thanks to the ancient custom of polygamy in Kazakh society, there were almost no widows or orphans. Families who did not have children were not divorced: either they resorted to adoption, or to marrying second, third or fourth wives.
 
In the traditional Kazakh society there was practically no divorce. A woman who was widowed was to marry one of her husband's brothers (custom amengerlik). In the life of the nomadic Kazakh people, this custom was of great social importance. The descendants of the deceased remained in their family, did not fall into someone else's environment. Living among relatives, they never felt like orphans and destitute. At the same time, the warm relations between matchmakers persisted. To the custom of adoption (bauyryn bass) resorted if the family was childless or the children born did not survive. Adopted, as a rule, children of close relatives by prior agreement of both parties.

Children who create their own family home, separated from their parents, received everything necessary for independent living: a yurt, a home environment, cattle, etc. The parental assignment was called the enshi. According to custom, only the youngest son remained with his parents, and he inherited all of their fortune. Kazakhs never left their parents alone. Violators of this unwritten custom of the steppe Kazakhs overtly despised.

The custom of the bata (blessing) was widespread among the Kazakhs. Bata was an indispensable element of almost any rite. It was pronounced in a poetic form and was addressed to others. In it, the speaker asked for mercy for others. The wish was pronounced by the elder by age or by a guest. The authors of the baht asked God for happiness, material prosperity, success in various enterprises. Bata was pronounced with a lift of the palms. At the same time, the palms were facing the face. The blessing ended with the word 'aumin'.

Bata (blessing) warned people against unseemly and unworthy actions, encouraged young people to do noble and good deeds. Taking any business, sitting down for a dastarkhan or going on a long trip, each traveler was blessed by aksakals. Bata was given when creating a family. Kazakhs tried to get blessings for their children from distinguished guests. With the spread of Islam, this tradition has developed even wider. With words of blessing, they expressed condolences to the relatives of the deceased. Raising their children, the Kazakhs formed a whole series of edifications. They were passed on from generation to generation.

The first was to welcome the approaching people to the bulk of the people, the equestrian is on foot, the smaller number of people is more. When eating, the adult began the meal first. During the meal it was forbidden to talk much. Proverbs and sayings played a huge role in the upbringing of children. They called for work, diligence, humanity: "God gives to those who live by the truth", "Batyr's power is in skill", "Labor is the second mother of man", "Where is unity, there is life "," Who works hard is full", "The summer day feeds", "The good man has no strangers", "The guests do not care about the careless owners".

Therefore, it is no accident that many researchers stressed the positive features of the character of nomads. Kazakh people are simple-hearted and kind to boundlessness and hospitable to the fullest extent.