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Some meanings seem to be represented in many different languages by similar words, or at least, by words with clear similarities in sound. The English word ‘new’ can therefore not be regarded as entirely English (not that many English words can) in that languages right across Europe and Eurasia bear the same characteristics. ‘Nouveau’ in French and ‘nuovo’ in Italian are clearly related, as is the Russian ‘novy’ and the Persian word, ‘nau’ (albeit subject to varieties in transliteration).
Nauruz therefore communicates the idea of newness, so when we learn that the Persian word ‘ruz’ means day, it hints at the very nature of the nauruz festival, itself widely recognised as one of the many New Year celebrations across the globe.

Yet nauruz itself is also thought to be the oldest of its kind, and the corresponding festivities can be traced back many moons. It is the first day of spring and for many, the beginning of the calendar, although most of the countries which still respect this ancient festival, such as those in Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Crimea and parts of the Balkans (and others) primarily work according to the established ‘western’ calendar which begins on the 1st January.
Logic may suggest that the astronomical vernal equinox indicates the start of a new cycle, but this is for individual cultures to decide. What many choose independently of the mainstream calendar is this very important celebration that has been such for about 3,000 years. On this day, a very important national holiday in Kazakhstan, families get together to participate in eventsand games which have not in essence changed for a lot of the period in question.

The famous Kazakh city of Shymkent
is one such place where Nauruz is widely regarded as the most important day of the year. Much of the city is given to dancing, music and an atmosphere in which everybody is welcome to join in, even if not wearing traditional clothing. Some things that happen at nauruz, in truth, are not in wide evidence at any other time of the year, which makes the passion people have for the day easier to understand. Some people who work away get scant opportunity to get home to their families and given the Kazakh love of their nearest and dearest, it gives the occasion ever more significance.
The Shymkent hippodrome is turned over completely to pursuits which may not directly spell nauruz but which are evidently organised in its honour, from a demonstration of national sports such as hunting with eagles and the game, kokpar
which itself has been part of the Kazakh furniture for centuries. While many choose to celebrate at home, hundreds pack the stands to watch the match, both before and after which they pack the adjoining park and enjoy the food and drink prepared specially for this day. Nauruz kozhe is a famous delicacy (not one I can sample myself, mind you) and the ever-dependable kymyz, baursak and shashlik seem to represent entire menus. To be fair, there is little call for culinary diversity, nauruz does what nauruz needs to do, and millions of Kazakhs look forward to it for months, and talk about it for months after.

As an aside, nauruz is of major significance in countries like Azerbaijan, which organises mass festivities in city squares. This can be said of other states, Kyrgyzstan for example, and emigrants from the region continue to value this day in all corners, bringing the total of revellers to some several hundred million across the globe. It is predominantly a Kazakh inclination in Kazakhstan, but other ethnic groups have enormous respect for its meaning and the role it plays in making the country a land with a very rich cultural heritage.