MILLI FOLKLOR, vol.2020, no.125, pp.46-59, 2020 (AHCI)
Kazakhstan, which gained its independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union, attracts attention with its state policy emphasizing its national elements. In Kazakhstan, under the leadership of its founding President Nursultan Nazarbayev, activities are being carried out to strengthen the common Turkish identity and Kazakh national identity. The national culture of the Kazakh people is seen as an important resource for strengthening the Kazakh national identity. In this context, the state attaches great importance to the celebration of special days and national holidays peculiar to Kazakh people. One of these Kazakh holidays is called Amal Merekesi / Korisuv Kuni (Amal Holiday/ Meeting Day). This tradition is celebrated in Kazakhstan on March 14, one week before the Nauryz Festival. The Korisuv Kuni tradition is very similar to the Nauryz Festival. This holiday is celebrated when the winter ends on March 13 and the Amal (Hamal) month, which is a spring month, begins on March 14 in line with the solar calendar. Therefore, this festival is also called Amal Merekesi (Amal Holiday). On the other hand, the holiday is also called Korisuv Kuni (Meeting Day) due to Kazakh's nomadic way of living. This name was given because after the long winter people meet in the spring. This holiday is widely celebrated today, especially in Western Kazakhstan. Local governments in western regions organize events that highlight this holiday. Korisuv Kuni is mainly a local holiday, but the Kazakh government has been trying to spread this holiday throughout the country in the last few years. This article provides information about the Korisuv Kuni tradition of the Kazakh people. The history of Korisuv Kuni, its celebration and rituals performed during this holiday have been examined. This article discussed how this holiday was celebrated in the past and how it is celebrated today. How Korisuv Kuni became a nation-wide national holiday from being a local tradition has also been presented. The article focuses on how and why this holiday was transformed from a local holiday to a national one. Moreover, answers have been sought to the following questions by collecting opinions of people living in different parts of Kazakhstan: What does Korisuv Kuni mean for Kazakh people today, has this holiday really changed from a local tradition to a national holiday according to Kazakh public, how did this tradition come about, has this tradition been invented or is it a tradition that existed locally and changed to a national tradition? Interview data collected from the people living in different parts of Kazakhstan and other available data give the impression that Korisuv Kuni is an invented tradition based on the Nauryz Festival. In the past, people could not celebrate the Nauryz Festival in the Soviet era because the Russian intensity of population and oppression was felt more in the Western regions; therefore, they preserved all the rituals of Nauryz Festival and celebrated the festival by naming it "Korisuv Kuni in order not to disturb the Soviet authorities. In 1988, the date of the Nauryz Festival was fixed on March 21-22, but people continued to celebrate Nauryz on March 14 in the public memory as Korisuv Kuni. Nowadays, Korisuv Kuni is quite suitable to be used as an argument for strengthening the Kazakh national identity in terms of its content. The rituals within the holiday that strengthen the national identity have been effective in the decision of the state to spread the holiday to whole country.