Celebrate the end of Ramadan in Kazakhstan!

Kazakhstan Festival of Eid-Al-Fitr

Map of Country

Figure 1: Map of the Country of Kazakhstan is courtesy of Lonelyplanet.com

 

Abstract

During the 9 th month of the Muslim calendar, Ramadan is observed with a fast. The Muslim holy book of the Qur'an as well as adopted Kazakh rituals serve as base to celebrate the end of the fast; or the holiday of Eid-al-Fitr. Eid-Al-Fitr celebrates the teachings of Muhammad and the Qur'an with a festival that is meant to be playful as well as spiritual. The celebration of the Eid al Fitr is an reaggregration holiday that is meant to bring all Muslims together to reflect on the past month of religious purification and celebrate the many blessings Allah has given them before Kazakh Muslims reenter their everyday lives.

Top

  Additional Image 2

Figure 2: Zaili Alatau Mountain, Coutesy of virtualtourist.com Figure 3: Egg Paratha , coutesy of http://library.thinkquest.org/11719/vasishtfiles/idalfitr.html

Introduction

During the 9th month of the Muslim Calendar, Ramadan is observed with a fast.  The Fast of Ramadan is a time when Kazakh Muslims concentrate on their faith and spend less time on other aspects of their daily lives.  Throughout the month, Muslims are not allowed to eat or drink during the day along with several other restrictions.  When the fast and month ends, Kazakhstan Muslims celebrate with a three day festival known as Eid-Al-Fitr, or the feast of fast breaking (Fast of Ramadan). Figure 3 displays a traditional dish of Egg Parathat that is eaten at the festival of Id-al-Fitr  My website will go into detail on the unique holiday of Id-al-Fitr in Kazakhstan and how the country celebrates the end of relgious purification during Ramadan.

Top

Context of Kazakhstan]

Kazakhstan is located in central Asia between Russia and China, and is the 9th biggest country in the world.  Kazakhstan is very flat and dry with the exception of the mountainous south-east and easter borders.  Figure 2 displays the great beauty of the Zaili Alatau Mountains within the Tian Shan mountain range.  However, the majority of the country is very flat; the winters are extremely cold and windy while the summers are especially hot and dry.

Native Kazakhs are descendants of Mongols, Turkic, and others who inhibited the great nomadic empire.  Kazakhs were savegly taken over by the Oyrats, a warlikeexpansionist Mongolian people, between 1690 and 1720.  The destruction caused by the Oyrats, made the region susceptible to Russian invasion during the 19th Century.  Sovite rule in Central Asia including using the region of Kazakhstan as a nuclear testing zone.  Kazakhstan finally gained its own independence from the USSR in 1991.  The Kazakh people are made up of forty-six percent native Kazakh, thrity-four percent Russian, and several other Asian peoples.  About half of the country is Muslim, while forty four percent practice Russian Orthodox.(Embassy of Kazakhstan)

Top

Origins of [Eid-Al-Fitr]

It is the Muslims belief that during the month of Ramadan in the year 610 A.D., the first verses of the Qur'an were prophesized through the prophet Muhammad. The verses of the Qur'an are believed to be the direct word of Allah, or God, delivered by the angel Gabriel into the hands of the prophet Muhammad so that he could spread the word of Islam. For Muslims, Ramadan is the month for renewing their commitment and re-establishing their relationship with Allah. The prophet Muhammad wrote, “Anyone who fasts during this month with purity of belief and with expectation of a good reward will have his previous sins forgiven (Murad).” After the fast during Ramadan had been established, the Qur'an also recognized the celebration of Eid-al-Fitr with verses such as “that you complete the number (of Fasts) and proclaim the greatness of God for having guided you, and so that you may render thanks and rejoice” (Al-Qur'an 2:185). The holiday of Eid-al-Fitr has ever since been celebrated by Muslims all over the globe.

Top

Performance

The word 'Eid is an Arabic name to mean a festivity, a celebration, a recurring happiness, and a feast. Eid Al-Fitr in Kazakhstan is about celebrating the blessings that one has received from Allah. Muslims of Kazakhstan spend much of the three day holiday spending time with family members and friends enjoying meals and giving gifts to children (Jane).For children Eid-Al-Fitr can be best compared to a mixture of America 's Thanksgiving combined with a Christian Christmas due to the fact that feasts as well as gifts are very common. On the Eid' everyone should be dressed in new clothing and looking their best. However, women are not allowed to wear perfume or “tempting” clothing that may stray others from worship. Many cities in Kazakhstan set up amusement rides for children and have fireworks or similar displays at night.

  During the Eid' Muslim Kazak men congregate at the mosques or eidgahs (large enclosures for prayer), as seen in the below Figure 4. On the way to the mosque, men will pay a tax or Zakat-ul-Fitr, in money or food that will be redistributed to the poor so that they too can enjoy the festivities. The tax is not enforced but most every Muslim will pay.

Top

Artifact

A Kazakhstan mosque where hundreds of Muslims join together in public prayer during the festival of Eid al Fitr.

(Image is courtesy of http://www.islamonline.net/English/eid/1423/marriage/Affirs/article04.SHTML )

Top

Interpretation

Top

Prognosis for [name of celebration]

The participation of the celebration of Eid-al-Fitr is deeply based on the continual recovery of Kazakhstan as a country. “In many post-Soviet states the return to observance of a traditional and customary faith was taken as a sign of recovery (Olcott: 2002).” The problems of past takeovers still surround the Kazakh people, but the present transition back to native values and religion has helped the Muslim religion prosper.

The 1992 “Religious Freedom and Religious Associations” doctrine is one of the most important bills in Kazakhstan history for creating equality. The guidelines make Kazakhstan the only Central Asian state that can truly call itself secular (Olcott: 2002). The 1992 bill limits the amount of power a religion has in forming the legal and social atmosphere of the country. Therefore, Islam is not the center of the Kazakh population. The rights of choice as well as the equality ideals make Kazakhstan more attractive for a variety of peoples to populate the region. Although the quality of life as inevitably gone up in Kazakhstan, the future may create a decrease in the amount of participants in the native Muslim religion as well as Muslim celebrations such as Eid-al-Fitr.

Top

Conclusion

Throughout the revitalization period of Ramadan Kazakhstan Muslims are asked to take the month to put all other priorities on hold and simply focus on their faith. The celebration of Eid-al-Fitr acts as a means of celebrating the end of the fast, but also remembering what was learned throughout the month. The fostering of Muslim communities, feasts with family and friends, and religious practices are meant to bring Kazakh Muslims together so that they bond together in social solidarity in the teachings of the Qur'an and use all that was experienced during the month of Ramadan towards their everyday life throughout the year (Turner: 1982).

Top

Internet References Cited

Top

Peer-Reviewed References Cited

  • I

    Dorson, Richard M. Material Components in Celebration. 1982

  • Jane, Lampmon. Islam:beliefs and practices. Christian Science Monitor; 11/15/2001, Vol 93 Issue 247, p18

  • Murad, Khurram. What does Eid celebrate again and again? Oct 19 2004.

  • http://islam.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://www.jamaat.org/islam/eid.html

  • Podoprigora, Roma. Religious Freedom and Human Rights in Kazakhstan . Religion, State & Society; June 2003, Vol. 31, Issue 2, p 123 10p
  • Olcott, Martha Brill. Kazakhstan , Unfulfilled Promise . Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Washington D.C. 2002.

  • Turner, Edith and Victor. Religious Celebrations . 1982

Top

Contact Jim Aimers | ©2004 Miami University