Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Happy Nauruz!

Today, is the last day of “Nauruz” - The New Year in Kazakhstan (from the Persian words “Nau-New, Ruz-Year.”) and welcoming of the spring.

This is the time for Kazakhs to get together with family and friends, exchange gifts, ask for forgiveness of their sins, and be joyful and “revive themselves spiritually”. The city, the streets, parks, stadiums, are all full of people who say “Koktem tudy” (spring is born) to each other and celebrate Nauruz with songs, competitions, horse racing, ethnic theaters, fashion shows and marches. The main ritual dish, “Nauryz-kozheh,” includes seven ingredients, signifying the seven life beginnings – water, meat, salt, fat, flour, cereal and milk. And they symbolize joy, luck, wisdom, health, wealth, speedy growth and heavenly protection.
Our Nauruz started with no water (cold or hot) for the first morning!!!. Since we had not too much water left, we could not welcome the spring too happy! We do drink filtered water from the sink – as everybody here does – and nothing happened to us so far!
The celebration continued with a short walk on the Constitution street which was extremely crowded, lots of people were walking on the street to see the yurts and the show, listen to the music, eat shish kebab and drink beer. We arrived little late to the orphanage, where the Nauruz show already began. The children were so cute – they danced, sang and played some games! Gabi was not in the show, but he was happy to see us there as part of the audience. When the show was over, Yuri, the director of the orphanage gave a little speech and at the end, lots of candies were shared with everybody.
We also had to meet with the social worker to take pictures together with us and an other Spanish family who is adopting a little boy, Vladimir. It was very funny, after she took few pictures together with each family, she changed her clothes, took off her high heel boots and changed her hairstyle quickly; asked us and our children to change our jackets between each others and took an other set of pictures in the opposite corner of the room. This is how she will prove in the court she was with us every day. Honestly, we are so very happy it was just the two of us and Igor to play with Gabi!

Yuri was very nice, he invited us for lunch in the guest room of the orphanage and we spoke about Nauruz and other Kazakh traditions. While men were toasting with vodka - and I was toasting with green tea, we could not stop ourselves tasting fish salad with red beet, pickle carrots, corn salad, home made cold cuts and many other Kazakh or Russian? goodies – and for the first time, we ate horse meat!. Yes, we did it, and we are still alive! Would I try it again? I guess I would rather prefer a horseback riding in the forest!
We finished our day in a pub, with Igor and Nadya - drinking Karaganda beer and eating shish kebab to celebrate the New Year, and the end of the winter which is truly over!….. And the second day, we went to the baby house and for the first time, ask Yulia for forgiveness and listened to her Nauruz speach! We did not get to visit her for one day!

Few pictures from this Happy Event!


Karen said...

Happy Nauruz to you too. We celebrated the New Year here in Uralsk by attending a big event in the park. We were the only non-Kazakhs there so we got a lot of stares. But it was still fun to be there. The evening was capped off with fireworks.

You're so lucky to be able to take pictures in the orphanages. Any photos we have taken were done in secret. Still waiting for our court date--we need the guardianship letter (it's in Frankfurt right now). Once it gets here (Fed Ex says it'll arrive in Uralsk on the 31st--that seems so far away) we hope to go to court immediately.

Have fun with your two kiddies!

Susan said...

Great pictures today...I like the man with the fur hat.

I hear a lot about this Karaganda beer. I can't wait to try some. :)

Great to hear from you--Happy Nauruz to you guys!!! Court is this week already--can you believe it?? :)

Kelly and Sne said...

It sounds like you had a lovely holiday with your children. I love the photos!

Trudi said...

How FUN! What a gift to be able to experience Nauruz in Kaz. Your story was wonderful - and the pictures, priceless.

Regina said...

Thanks for sharing the Nauryz photos with us -- very cool. I've been out of town and missed blog-stalking for a few days. It's good to catch up. Hooray for your court date!

Jennifer M said...

Wow, sounds like you had so much fun! You make me envious when you talk about kebabs and Karaganda beer! I miss the Kebabs so much. Igor and Nadya are a lot of fun. I'm glad you get to enjoy spending time with them.

The pictures are great- thank you!!