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

The custom of giving the names in Kazakhs’ culture

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The custom of giving the names in Kazakhs’ culture
The happiest moment for Kazakhs is the birth of a child. Thus, giving the name for a child is very serious process. Traditionally, grandfather or respected person could give the name.

Motives for the naming in Kazakh culture were varied. Names were given on the specifics of the appearance.

Children with a birthmark called Kaldybay, Mendybay, Mendigul, Mendikul, Anarbay, Anar and with fused fingers — Kosbarmak, Koseken, Artyk, Artykbay and Artykali.

Color of eyes, hair and skin has an impact on following names: Karakoz, Kokkoz, Karashash, Sarah Appak, Akbope and Karabala. Child with a big nose called Murynbay, with snub nose — Tankybay and Tankan.

Very often were given so-called «rymnye» from the word «yrym» — «superstition». In a family where the children often died, newborn were given the names Toktar, Tursyn, Tursynkul, Zhursin and Olmes. If only girls were born, they were called Ulbala, Ultay, Ultugan, Ulzhan and Ulbosyn.

Premature babies named — Shalabek, Shalabay, Leker and Zhartygul.

With hope that the evil spirits will not notice and do not take away the child unattractive names like Zhamankul, Itzhemes, Shokpyt, Eleusi, Kotibar, Tezekbay and Shulgaubay were given.

Names like Ayzharyk, Tanatar, Zhumabike, Beisenbay, Duysenkul, Bazarbay, Kauys, Shildebay, Mamyrkul, Aitkul and Ramadan reflect the times of child’s birth.

Some of the names associated with the events that took place on the day of birth of a baby: Bigeldi, Zhaugashty, Uderbay (uder — unexpected migrations) Amanzhol, Baykoshken, Zhanbyrbay and Dauylbaev.

For nomadic people were appropriate to give names for children by regions: Edilbay, Zhaylaukul, Adyrbay, Taubay, Altai, Ushkempir ( the name of the well), Meshitbay.

Names like Umirzak, Mynzhasar, Bekzhan, Esenaman and Munaitpas associated with a wish of long life.
Names with the wishes of force might contain components like «Er», «Warrior», as well as the names of powerful animals, birds, metal and weapons: Yerbol, Batyrzhan, Itelgi, Zholbarys, Koshkar, Narbaey, Tulpar, Temirbek, Naizabek, Semser, Shokpar and Baltabek.

Most Kazakh names reflect the different requirements: wealth — Taybagar, Ayranbay, Zhylkyaydar, Bayzhigit; intelligence and talent — Akylzhan, Danyshpan, Kuke, Onerbay, Kalambay; generosity and nobility — Myrzabaev, Faiz, Zhomart Ismet; happiness and success — Bakdaulet, Zhemiskul, Saltanat, Nurgul; beauty — Aigul Nakysh, Gulley, Perizat, Meruert; support to parents — Nursultan, Omirserik, Askar, Esmurat; Respected man and the head — Bibol, Rais, Amirbek, Akimzhan, Malik; a good character — Zhibek Patsay, Makpal.

A custom to give names in honor of the respected people, for instance, warriors — Kobylandy, Zhanatay, Alpamys; historical figures — Abylay, Tolebi, Maiky, Genghis, Zulkarnay); literature and art figures — Abay, Shokan, Kurmangazy Ahanseri, Buharbay Olzhas, is widespread.

Names were given in honor of the nations, tribes and clans: Uzbekali, Kyrgyzbay, Dulat, Konyrday, Estekbay and Nogaybay.

Since Islam began to spread following names became very popular: the names associated with 99 epithets of Allah — Rahman, Rahim, Mubarak; with the names of the caliphs, the Prophet and the family of the Prophet — Abdullah Ali, Abubakir, Mukhambet, Khadisha, Fatima, Aisha; with the attributes of faith — Yasin, Ayat, Daiyr.

Also names can be given randomly like Saptayak, Saten, Koseubay and Pistegul.
In Soviet times, in the list of Kazakh names were added names associated with significant socio-economic transformation in society: Kenes, Saylauukul, Soverbek, Kosmos, Traktor and Mira.

Telman, Marat, Mels, Clara, Inessa, Indira and Ernest were given in honor of the revolutionaries and the prominent political figures.

In 50’s, names of Western European origin like Robert, Rudolph, Aelita, Luiza, Dina, Diana and so on, were widespread.

Recently, as the Kazakh language was given the official status the name of the native Kazakh origin became very popular.

Giving the names is the live process, constantly updated and directly relation to the historical and cultural life of the people.


Material provided by the Scientific Expert Council of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan, an article from the book of Ph. D., Professor A. Kalybekova «Folk wisdom of Kazakhs about education», Almaty, 2011, p. 390