This ceremonial custom has the great educational meaning and declares the new period in a boy’s life. When he is six or seven years of age, he is gifted a horse, kamcha (the lash) is solemnly put into his hands, he is seated on the tamed and saddled horse and is announced to be a zhigit since that moment. It promotes the child, and he begins to feel responsible. Then he is engaged in work. At such a solemn moment called ‘Ashamaiga mingizu’ the child’s grandpa gives blessing to his grandson, and his grandma grandly strews him with shashu. Elder children perform baiga (races), and grown-ups make a little party.
The cutting of fetters. This ceremony is performed when the baby makes his first steps. His legs are tied with the thin colorful string, which is entrusted to be cut to an energetic man having many children. Songs and wishes for a baby to stand firmly on his feet and go along his life confidently accompany this custom. The feast follows the ceremony. In old times after ‘tusaukeser’ the child was presented with a horse and saddle. The colorful string means that in life, there happen to be not only white, but also periods, and the future zhigit must be able to overcome difficulties.
“Besik” (cradle) is a sacred relic of every family. It is usually gifted to a grandchild by mother`s relatives “nagashy”. Besik is kept at home carefully and is passed on from the old to next generation. Sometimes the son chances to sleep in his father`s cradle.
When a baby is put in his cradle for the first time, the custom “besikke salu” (to put in the cradle) is performed. Traditionally, the right to fulfil such a responsible task belongs to a specially invited for the event wise and respected grandma having many children.
Before putting the baby into the cradle, the woman ties to its head an amulet which according to the belief, will protect the child from evil spirits, then into the hole located in the center of the cradle, where a special pot for the baby’s dryness and cleanness is set (the ancestor of nowadays pampers), people throw sweets. Right away childless women take them.
After the baby is put into the cradle, it is covered with seven different things; each of them has its own meaning and according to the belief may influence the child’s destiny. For example, a fur coat or expensive chapan is a symbol of prosper
The forty first day since the baby is born, a few women gather in his house and wash him, trim his hair and nails for the first time.
Women who performed the custom receive their gifts appreciation, and everybody who is present at this significant event is invited to dastarkhan. By the way, numbers 3, 7, and 41 Kazakh think the most especial and lucky.
Kazakhs attach a great importance to this solemn ceremony.
They to give the baby a beautiful name or a name of a famous person, in order for the child to become like that famous person.
This custom is entrusted to be performed to respected people, who give the newly born their blessing (bata) right away.
Shikdehana is a toi organized when a baby is born.
At the daytime friends and acquaintances come to wish well, they say “kutty bolsyn” (be happy).
In the evening the guests gather and have fun, sing songs, play dombra (Kazakh national instrument with two strings), and enjoy their food.
The Kazakh folk has a nation “kindik sheshe”. When the child is born, women are standing ready to cut the newly born baby’s navel-string. Often they argue who should do it. The right to make “kindik kesu” (to cut the baby`s navel-string) is given to a respected woman or a wise grandma, and after that the woman receives her traditional present “kindik keser”. Further on she is called “kindik sheshe” (sheshe means mother) and she is also regarded as this child’s mother. Afterwards “kindik sheshe” may come to the house where the child is growing up and ask for anything, and she`ll never be refused.
“Zharyskazan” is a custom performed during the woman’s birth pangs. While waiting for a happy piece of news, grandmas and close women relatives of the husband gather round the delivering woman, and, trusting in powers of Bibi Fatima and asking her help, arrange “kazan zharys” (literally, zharys means competitions). The women who try to cook it before an expected child is born faster put smoked meat or something delicious into a cauldron. After the baby is born, women eat together what they have cooked.
“Kimeshek” is the married woman’s head-dress. During her first year in the new house the young daughter-in-law wears a little kerchief on her head, and “saukele” (the bride’s head-dress) she may wear only for tois and holidays. Kazakh women do not wear saukele after the wedding.
After the first kid’s birth women of aul specially come to the daughter’s-in-law house and put “kimeshek” on her head, which conceals her neck and shoulders. Only her face remains uncovered. In northern regions, this custom is called “zhaulyk saldy.”
“Neke kiyar” is a wedding ceremony. Marriage is a sacred notion, a symbol of loyalty and affection in every person’s life. To observe this custom, organizers invite mullah (the priest) and place before him a cup filled with water and covered with a piece of fabric. The close relatives and friends of both the bride and bridegroom gather round. Mullah says prayers, and then via witness, following the special formula, he asked if the boy and girl agree to be married.
According to shariat (the Muslim body of law), if the bride is pregnant, this wedding ceremony is cancelled, and performed only after a child is born. Also, this ceremony is prohibited for young people, being relatives is one of the seven generations, because until the seventh generation Kazakh are considered to be relatives.
Betashar, the ritual of unveiling the bride’s face (showing the bride to the bridegroom’s relatives and guests), is obligatory accompanied with the traditional song-zhyr. The bride fully dressed in her wedding outfit is brought to the yurta of the bridegroom’s father, where all the guests are gathered. At both her sides, holding her by arms, well-bred and respectful daughters-in-law are standing. “Betashar” includes the acquaintance of the bride with her future husband’s relatives; here good pieces of advice and wishes for happy family life are being expressed. The singer, master of improvisations, characterizing in verses each of the respected relative, requests the bride to bow in his honor; and in reply to that the future husband`s close relatives give “korimdik” (the gift for the viewing). “Betashar” ends with admonitions, wishes, and advice.
Kelin tusiru (kelin – daughter-in-law, tusiru – here, to welcome) is bride’s arrival to her bridegroom’s home. For Kazakh people the cherished dream, the b3ggest joy and the greatest toi is “kelin tusiru”. Whole aul gets ready for this celebration. The bride must not be brought straight to the threshold of the house. Traditionally, she is left with her “zhenge” at the considerable distance from aul. Girls and newly made wives meet the bride and, disguising her face, bring her into the house and seat her behind “shymyldyk” (curtain, portiere) together with other girls. The threshold must be stepped over by the right foot. The receiving party strews everybody with shashu and congratulate them. The bride is accompanied with her mother, sisters, and zhenges. All her parents and friends are invited to aul; the feast with foods and various kinds of entertainment (singer`s competitions, games, etc.) is organized. But everybody is very anxious to see the future “kelin” (daughter-in-law). Once all the guests are gathered, the bride is solemnly brought out in her rich wedding outfit, her face covered with the veil (shawl), and a singer, master of improvisations, begins to sing “betashar”.