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Amal — Nauryz in Mangistau region

Amal — Nauryz in Mangistau region - e-history.kz
In Mangistau region Nauryz is called different and celebrated in different way. In this Saturday, March 14, citizen of Mangistau will celebrate Amal — spring holiday.

Kazakhstan and all Turkic world is going to celebrate a holiday Nauryz. And Mangistau people unlike other regions of the republic will start celebrating spring holiday before all — on March 14. On this day our ancestors moved to summer pastures on Ustyurt Plateau, and for that reason arranged festival.

It is all because of sacred nine

People of Mangistau region for long time celebrate Nauryz two times a year — on March 14 and traditionally on March 22. The archeologist Andrey Astafiyev gives the scientific explanation for this tradition. For a long time he had been studied the history of the region and came to a conclusion that Amal holiday has Mongolian and Tuva roots. According to the legend of Aday tribe, people came to Ustyurt Plateau and Mangistau peninsula from the East.

Perhaps, they brought different calendar system from there. Based on Mongolian calendar there are nine days in a week, and it is beginning from December 22.Four seasons were grouped by the nine days in four cycles (spring, summer, fall and winter). The new year was calculated from a winter solstice after which day length starts increase. The cold winter time was the time of "birth" and "dying" of a frost, and it lasted from December 23 to March 14. Spring begins from March 14 — time of "growing" of leaves and singing of a cuckoo. After the beginning of spring for the ninth day the spring equinox was celebrated.

Most likely, this fact of the calendar system has a direct link to the periods of celebration of Nauryz in Mangystau. This tradition could "move" to Mangistau together with Kazakhs of Aday tribe in the first half of the 18th century. The local people from Aday tribe maintain tradition of ancestors. Thus Nauryz in Mangistau is celebrated together with friends and relatives. Mandatory attributes of a holiday — special drink called Nauryz kozhe, traditional dish Nauryzdyk and some food which prepared only in Mangistau area.


Based on ancient tradition, on this day it is necessary to wake up early and before twilight to visit all relatives and friends, overall 40 houses. There is believe that in one of this houses you will meet Kydyr ata, who will bless with happiness in new year.

The main and unique feature of Amal is greeting. A handshake ceremony, when young people visit elders’ house, shaking hand with them, ask blessings from them. It is believed that the earlier you will greet and congratulate the happier will be the year. Also it is believed that people should forgive each other all offences, give the presents to family and to be dressed with nice cloths.


Beginning of Amal

On the peninsula of Mangyshlak people always congratulated each other with Nauryz on March 14. One of national legends state that the khan sent a boy to congratulate people of Aday tribe, he rode very fast so reached the place two weeks earlier. And based on other legend people of Aday tribe moved from winter to summer pastures on March 14, and in honor of what they arranged a big celebration. And what there was, traditions live. At that time, while all Kazakhstan only prepares for a holiday, Mangistau since March 14 celebrates approach of the Nauryz. Despite of anything the tradition is alive in the region. People of Mangistau celebrate Nauryz from March 14 whereas people in other regions only start preparing for this holiday.

The peak of all festivals related to Amal in Magistau passes on the mountain Otpan. Traditional fire of unity is lit there, to be more precise on the territory of the historical and cultural complex "Otpan tau". Mountain Otpan is one of the highest in Mangistau, and it rises 532 meters above sea level. On the top of it there is the monument of Aday — historical figure and batyr (warrior), which was set in 2007 in his honor in the historical and cultural complex "Otpan tau". Also at that place there are two steles which symbolize two sons of Aday ata — progenitor of the Aday tribe — Kelimberdy and Kudayke. There is the statue of the Great wolf — the symbol of power and free spirit, according to the legend it considered as the ancestor of all Turkic people.


Otpan tau many years ago served as a signal tower. At its peal people lit fire in order to let know all Mangistau are about approaching danger. Now it is lit only for Amal. The ceremony of fire ignition is symbol of unity and it is usually passes at night on the eve of the holiday. According to the legend in ancient times warriors from all over the country run here to protect lands for descendants as long as they saw the signal. Today this holiday has spiritual meaning — to pay tribute to the memory of the ancestors whose aim was unity of all people. Nowadays, bit only people of Mangistau, but also from other countries like Russia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan come here to visit it.


Festive meal

On this day each house cook traditional festive dish called Nauryz kozhe. And only men participate in preparation of this dish. Mutton and meat of camel, which should be prepared in advance, are the main ingredients of it. There are lots of recipes of this dish, but the main technique is same. Corn, rice and other grains also potatoes and onions always boiled separately. Sometimes making such dish can last for three-four days.

Traditionally, yurts are set on the eve of Amal’s celebration. In Mangistau region they are specific with their construction and inside furniture. Historians found some similarities with East. For example, the custom where yurt’s entrance should be faced to south came from there. Scientists even found hidden mathematical code in the yurtas of Aday tribe. 108 uyk (dome pole) are set to support shanyrak (circular top). This number is sacred for Mongols and Buddhists.

Andrey Astafyev says: "People of Aday tribe kept fabric tape — ak baskur, which is divided into 12 zones on the ornament not similar to each other. There was an idea that is a calendar. We divided 108 uyks into 12. And what do you think was the result? Nine! It is the number of days in their calendar. Magical number of Buddhists derivative from 9 and 12 is 108. Mongols consider this number as lucky".

Few days left before the holiday and people of Western Kazakhstan are busy with preparation for this holiday, one of the most beautiful days in a year. "Happy Amal!" dear people of Mangistau region.

We express gratitude to Timur Kaziyev, the journalist of tumba.kz, for the provided material