Ethnic festival “Kokmaisa”
In order to develop and promote the tourism cluster of Central Kazakhstan, the PF “Uly Tagzym” together with the National Historical, Cultural and Natural Reserve-Museum “Ulytau”, the Akimat of the Ulytau District annually (in different years under different names) “Terisakkan Spring”, “Ulytau Kymyzy” , “Kokmaisa” held an ethnofestival about the spring rites of horse breeders.
During the period of the ethnofestival in 2012-2019, representatives of 16 republican and regional media took part in the festival, for the first time in the history of Ulytau, tourists from the USA, France, Bahrain, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Central Asia, representatives of UNESCO, National Geographic television companies, Discovering Kazakhstan, Turan-TV and “Hunting and Fishing” from Russia.
At the same time, in order to popularize the festival, by order of the UNESCO Office in South Korea, Kazakhfilm JSC shot a 20-minute documentary film, and the Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan published a colorful photo album.
The theme of the ethnofestival is of great interest to researchers and in 2018 was included in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, under the title “Traditional spring holiday rites of Kazakh horse breeders.”
Traditions and customs are the precious heritage of every people, and one of such traditions aimed at strengthening the unity of the country, along with the celebration of Nauryz and Ait, is “Kokmaisa” (Kymyzmuryndyk) - the ceremony of treating the first kumis.
The purpose of the ethnofestival: Popularization of the history of the nomads of the Eurasian steppe.
Ethnic festival “Terisakkan Spring”
Terisakkan literally means “river flowing in reverse.” Some people understand this and therefore ask: “is this true?” In fact, the word “teris” among the Turks means the north pole, the northern side. If the main nine rivers of Ulytau flow to the west, south and east, then only the Terisakkan River flows to the north and flows into the Arctic Ocean through the rivers: Yesil, Tobol, Ertysh, Ob.
In the Eurasian space, perhaps, a similar holiday “Matching a stallion” has been preserved only in the village of Terisakkan. Of course, in the spring, mares are milked in other places, but here in Terisakkan, on the land of Ulytau, it takes place as a festive event, like a spring festival. Most likely, the roots of this holiday go back to the distant Bronze Age, in the cult of fertility.
Village residents begin preparing for this event in winter. Herd owners begin to look for a worthy stallion for their herd in advance. There are herds in a relatively small village, only 50 houses, more than anywhere else in the Ulytau region: 23 herds, and each with at least 25 heads. Many people woo the owners of the best stallions, often invite them to visit, give gifts, strike up friendships, and try to agree in advance on the exchange of stallions.
The fact is that the herd is forced to change stallions every two years, since they do not mate with their pets. This is one of the many best qualities of horses. Sometimes they look for stallions in neighboring villages, and some even go to the Turgai steppes to woo.
And finally, when the distribution of the stallions is completed, the owners lock him up in a shed within two months and fatten him up. On the day of the “wedding day” the stallion is released into the herd. But before this moment, several rituals and obligatory ritual actions take place. Perhaps in other places this happens differently, but in the village of Terisakkan the following rituals are performed. Horses are brought from the pasture. People gather: the elderly, the young, children, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, grandchildren, in general, “from small to great.” A dastarkhan is being set up in the clearing. It always contains yellow butter, boiled sour cream, baursaks, flatbreads, and ayran. The elder gives a blessing. “Noktalau” begins, that is, bridles are put on the foals. They are then tied to a long rope, secured to the ground with iron stakes. There are an average of 15 heads in a herd of foals. Women coat the tail of the foals and the iron stakes holding the rope with oil. At the same time they say “baylar kop bolsyn, ak mol bolsyn”, “let there be more rich people, let the milk increase.
Then the foals are brought one by one to the mares and fed, after which the mares are milked. When bringing the foals to their mother, the base of the foals' tail is scratched. But no one could explain the meaning of this action. In life, we do many actions automatically, without thinking about the meaning and meaning.
Finally, the most important event of the holiday is when the stallion is released. He energetically rushes into the herd, announcing his presence with a loud neigh. Sniffs the ground around the herd, determining the readiness of females for mating. But apparently, with horses, like with people, the females do not immediately allow you to approach them, demanding gentle courtship. All people “from great to small” watch the event of “horse love” with excitement, worrying about their pets. After all, the safety and growth of the herd depends on the stallion. Horses are the only wealth of the Terisakans. There is no production in the village and there has been no grain harvest for the last few years due to drought.
The peculiarity of the festival in Terisakkan is that the “Bie Baylau” ritual has been held here for centuries, usually in early May. The entire population of Terisakkan participates in the ritual. This ritual is associated with the ancient cult of fertility, and its ritual archaism was preserved in the steppe Eurasian space only in the village of Terisakkan in the form of a traditional spring festival of nomads. The cult of the horse is especially prominent here. Sacred horse worship has been known from archaeological evidence since the Bronze Age. The horses of Terisakkan are unusual in their beauty and color.
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