National costume: preserving the warmth, spirit and strength of the people

March has not yet had time to gather all the succulence of spring and colour its first days with natural colours. But, welcoming its arrival, people in the week of Nauryz generously share with each other rich dastarkhan, cheerful songs and colours of smart national costumes. This beautiful tradition has entered the Nauryz calendar as a special Day dedicated to the national costume. And it is celebrated for the first time with all the breadth of the national holiday on 18 March.

This day has become an occasion for many Kazakhstanis to take out of wardrobes and chests beautiful outfits, which are kept in families and passed on by inheritance from the elders to the youngest, preserving the warmth and spirit of the family, the nation and the whole country. This day has become an occasion for many to acquire a new national costume, which, perhaps, will lay down in young families the beautiful traditions of this holiday.

How important it is for people, how beautiful and festive it is, was demonstrated today by the power engineers of AlES JSC. In all production departments of the company, this day, as well as throughout the country, was dedicated to the national costume.



– By wearing national dress, we not only glorify our Kazakh traditions, I see it as an important element in the education of the younger generation, says Moldir Zhampozova, Category 1 Engineer at PTD WHC. – Thanks to this we revive our culture. But not as something ancient and frozen, but as a continuity of traditions enriched with modernity. After all, today's national style is a combination of past traditions and modern trends. That is why new things are appearing, which are willingly worn by young people as well.

By the way, recently the employees of JSC AlES took part in the national flash mob "Ulttyk sezim", demonstrating the beauty of national costumes.


– In our family, we also honour traditions and willingly wear national costumes: sometimes at home, always on Nauryz and often on birthdays. National dress gives us a sense of national identity, a strong connection with our roots, says Marat Gizzatov, Head of the Project Support Department. – Respect for one's national costume also lays the foundation for respect for other ethnic clothes. For example, I have a Turkmen dressing gown, a burka, an Ossetian shirt, and especially many headdresses from different countries in my collection. All these are objects of material culture. In the intangible aspect, it is a sacral symbol. Especially a headdress, which indicated a person's social status, marital status and many other things.

And for Aibol Dauletov, a senior foreman of the boiler shop of the Western Heating Complex, national dress – especially the attire of batyrs – has long been the subject of his historical research and hobby. He has been interested in this issue since high school, as he studied in a class with an in-depth study of history at the Multidisciplinary School-Gymnasium No.123 named after Khodja Akhmet Yassaui in Almaty.

– My height is two metres, I was selected to show the national clothes of batyrs, he says – In the clothes of a batyr, I feel a surge of strength and spirit, although they weigh 25-30kg and the weapons also weigh 20kg. Kazakhs had no specific clothes for riding. The most important thing was the ability to control a horse. And we – Kazakhs – are accustomed to it from childhood, it is in our blood. The issue of arms and means of defence was vital for a batyr. Not only military success, but also life itself depended on quality weapons and armour. For example, in the image of a batyr, I have a means of protection – armour made of natural leather, and of weapons – nayza and aibalta. I am not only a batyr, but also a hunter using a golden eagle for hunting. After all, the nomadic peoples of Central Asia – Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and Mongols – use the golden eagle as a bird of prey to hunt foxes, hares, saigas, gazelles and sometimes wolves.

Aibol Dauletov performs mainly on national holidays, including Nauryz. As a rule, these are processions on the squares of Almaty, participation in performances in the theatre "Sultan Seri Ethno Theatre". Often he and his friends are asked to take part in anniversaries, sundet-toys, tilashar-toys, to accompany newlyweds.

– I always wanted to be like noble batyrs, who had a goal – to leave big beautiful lands for their future generation and to protect their people. Each of them is worthy of respect and honour, he says.

Aibol says this hobby delights and amazes many in Kazakhstan, and even receives invitations to perform from abroad. He, too, has been invited to tour abroad.

– But I refused because our work in the power industry requires responsibility and discipline, he said. – I love my work, and my hobbies come third, after work and family.

There are many of his colleagues in the company who sincerely share with him a love of national history, traditions and clothes.

– Kazakh national dress is magnificent, it emphasizes the beauty of free and independent steppe women, and the courage of men, strong and brave. When I put on a shapan, I feel like an heir of my ancestors – my heart is happy, says Serik Toktarbayev, Head of the Electrical Machine Shop at the HPP Cascade.

Darhan Borashov, Head of the Central Administrative and Engineering Department Cascade HPP, says that the national dress is not only a reflection of culture and traditions. "It is also my roots", he is sure. – I want the whole world to know how beautiful our national costumes are, and I want them to be recognized all over the world. I feel my growing responsibility to the youth and realize that I have to pass on the way of thinking of my ancestors to the present generation".

Nazira Kadyrkulova, Chairwoman of the trade union committee of PRE "Energoremont", discusses the deep meaning of the national costume and the semantic codes "sewn in" during its creation. "National costume for me is a link of generations and national identity," she admits. – I feel a sense of pride and emotional excitement when I wear national costume. I have been wearing clothes with elements of national costume usually in spring on Nauryz for the last 10 years. In general, I think such clothes would be appropriate for every day, because Kazakh national costume has always been characterised by its comfort, brevity and environmental friendliness.

Kanat Shayzanov, chief engineer at the Fuel Reception and Unloading Center, agrees, noting that when he wears the national costume, he recalls images of his childhood and his grandparents. "In short, there is some connection to the ancestors", he adds. – National dress symbolises the holiday, and not only Nauryz, weddings, birthdays…".

Abuseit Bakirov, a senior foreman at the railway section of the Fuel Reception and Unloading Center, was succinct in defining what the national costume means to him. But nevertheless, the answer was succinct: "It is pride in the nation. It is unity with the special culture of our ancestors, regardless of the geography of the country".

"National costume is not just clothing, it is a bright indicator of national belonging, which helps us to preserve the cultural and spiritual heritage of the past", adds Nauryzbek Kuzenov, senior HSE inspector at Fuel Reception and Unloading Center.

In the company's multinational team, there are no uninvolved in the holiday. Many are happy to get involved in this multicolour outfit.

– When I put on a national costume, I feel proud that my brotherly Kazakh people have such a rich historical heritage, says Anastassya Yeshchenko, Chief Specialist for Procurement of Works of the Procurement Department. – And I have the opportunity to choose and wear national dress and pass this spirit on to the younger ones. It seems to me that to meet a woman in Kazakh national dress, of any nationality, is a truly delightful sight. To wear a national costume now, for me personally, means to emphasise my belonging to the Kazakh people, its traditions and values. Kazakh clothing is characterised by practicality and richness of decorations, it is an exquisite art, which conceals a lot of symbols and meanings. Traditional national dress clearly expresses the unifying features of the people and the richness of cultural values".

– National dress has become an integral part of the culture and history of our republic, symbolising the national character and unity of Kazakhstanis, said Natalya Mitusova, an environmental engineer at Cascade HPP. – Ethno-style clothing influences the development of patriotic feelings of love for the Motherland and provides an opportunity to demonstrate one's national identity outside the country.

Despite the fact that National Costume Day is a regular working day for power engineers, they were able to demonstrate their beautiful costumes and take part in various musical numbers of the corporate flash mob in their free time, during breaks. And their mood and spiritual uplift charged everyone else in the neighborhood with a holiday.