The Spring Festival Nauryz was organized by the Kazakh club and held in the McCastlain Hall Ballroom on April 15.
The festival started with traditional Kazakh music that was played on the dombra, a string instrument. Kazakh club members danced a traditional dance called tamazhai.
Dombra music continued with the music called “Balamishka” and “Balbarauyn.”
According to Kazakh tradition, the sweets were thrown to the audience at the end.
The celebration ended with the traditional game “Arkantartys,” which is like tug of war.
Among traditional dishes, the Kazakh club served “chak-chak” – a desert that consists of dough cut on small pieces with honey, “baursaki” – fried patties, and plov – rice with meat and carrots.
Nauryz is Kazakh’s traditional New Year, which originated from ancient time and is celebrated for several days, starting March 21, which is the day of the spring equinox.
Nauryz means ‘birth of spring.’ It symbolizes goodness, wealth, friendship, happiness and love. During Nauryz celebration, past offences should be forgiven and forgotten and everybody should leave all bad things behind bringing renewal in the New Year.
On Nauryz, people dress up nicely and greet each other.
They celebrate this festival with traditional games such as “Kyz Kuu” and “Baiga,” which are horse races, Togyz Kumalak, a logic game; and they cook festive food, sing songs and make a
competition called “Aitys,” when you have to improvise music on dombra and make up words for the songs on the spot.
The Kazakh club started preparing for the festival at the beginning of March.
A lot of changes have been made since last year’s festival.
Kazakh club members added a dance, decorations, ordered and purchased T-shirts with a Kazakhstan flag on them and they cooked different food.
Kazakh Club President Altyn Arykbayeva said, “Next year we will definitely do this again and we will try to make some improvements.”
Sophomore Darlene Sutton said the festival was interesting and she enjoyed it.
“I really enjoyed it and you got to learn a little bit about the culture with the music and the dancing,” she said.