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Research paper on a topic: Is it wisely to follow all Kazakh traditions in a modern world?

Автор: Diz01 108


This paper explores research conducted on Kazakh traditions in a modern world. Sometimes traditions that seem to us as a usual ritual can harm the society. Research has shown that most of the Kazakh traditions are based on respect, hospitality, and other human values, however few traditions as a bride abduction ritual is not respond the human rights. This study aims to determine some Kazakh traditions and their role in modern world. Building on existing work on targeted fundraising, it asks: Is it wisely to follow all Kazakh traditions in a modern world?

Based on a review of the literature on Kazakh traditions, an online survey was distributed to people of different ages to know their opinions. Analysis of the responses demonstrated that majority of people think that the state of the Kazakh traditions is average. Also an interview was used as a method of collecting information. Almost half of the interviewers suggested bride abduction as an irrelevant custom. The results indicate traditions as a bride kidnapping is not answer to moral principles, otherwise almost all other traditions created to upbringing new generation. On this basis, we can say that it is not wisely to follow all Kazakh traditions. Further research is needed to identify other irrelevant traditions or additional information. 

Every nation’s an integral part of the culture is the preservation of its customs, traditions and rites, passed down from generation to generation. Customs, traditions and ceremonies of the Kazakh people were formed over several centuries. Kazakh traditions and customs were also influenced by the nomadic way of life and the Muslim religion. Currently, interest in the past has revived. This is natural process, because people should know the history of the place, where they live, remember and transmit customs, traditions and rites to the future generations. Kazakhs have always admired and highly valued their national rites and traditions. Therefore, the preservation and study of the cultural heritage, traditions and customs of the Kazakh people is one of the urgent tasks. However, some traditions are considered as not relevant to the modern Kazakh society.

In my opinion, this topic is one of the most interesting topic I have ever met, because everyone knows that traditions are important and how to follow them, however most of this people do not actually understand why they are important, as a consequence they blindly follow these customs. Thing that made me interested in this topic is the story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, where citizens of one suburb indiscriminately follow the tradition that indeed harm the society. After this story I started to think about this kind of Kazakh traditions. Additionally, in Kazakh Language Subject we go through this topic, that also motivated me to do research on topic of Kazakh traditions.

I will maybe have an inclination to this problem, because I believe without a shadow of a doubt that Kazakh traditions need some changes, in spite of the fact that it will take a lot of time; however I will attempt to consider all conceivable viewpoints of this issue and profoundly examine each part. In the terms of being useful to the society, I would like to publish my research paper on the educational or historical site, if it would be possible.

Literature Review

Bakhytzhanuly (2018) states, that national identity is the basis of the national state, its indication among others, it depends on different aspects-political, state-legal, socio-economic, ideological, cultural-civilizational, historical, etc. In difficult times, national identity is well traced to an ethnic group, where an impetus is given to finding reasons and ways to strengthen or rebuild national identity, seeking what unites us, formulating the ideals for which it is worth living or dying. The globalization and transition processes seen in the world today contradict traditional forms of identity, challenge the subjective feelings of people's and ethnic groups ' self-identity, established in the context of past traditions.

In this case Kabakova (2013) reviewing the traditions, that have survived and traditions that are no longer relevant. For example, the institute of “kalym” ("payment for bride") has disappeared. However, the tradition of giving a dowry to the bride is still actual; of course, the composition of dowry is changed. Now the content of dowry acts solely the interests of the young family as a one-time material and economic aid. According to this articlecurrent urban Kazakh wedding customs retained the elements of traditional culture. Even so it should be noted that there are a variety of traditions and rituals to which an uncertain attitude is conveyed. Namely, "zharysqazan" is a rite performed during a woman's birth. Close relatives begin cooking meat in the cauldron in anticipation of a joyful event, trying to get ahead of the baby's appearance. There was believed that child will be included in this "race," and will be born more quickly. There are customs, which have now lost their relevance. These include "amengerlik": the widow must have married one of her deceased husband's brothers. Compliance with this custom allowed the problem of fatherlessness to be resolved. Also, there are rites that demonstrate the cultural and socio-psychological originality of Kazakh culture, which has been, unfortunately, forgotten. One of these rites is "dert koshiru" ("getting rid of an illness"). By this custom all people in а village getting together and said "Qosh!" ("Go away!"), trying to recover. Kabakova (2013) states, that the members of modern Kazakh ethnic groups are distinguished by the veneration of family values, the restoration of their ethno-cultural traditions and the observance of family life in the process.

Conway.240 (2018) observes Kazakh tradition arguing moral acuity of the modern world - bride abduction. An abduction of a girl damages the honor of her family, and the only way to restore that honor is to accept the marriage. The social pressure and family honor serve in acceptance. For instance, a girl who refuses a marriage after being kidnapped is called a "girl who has returned home," a shameful title that often leads to rejection and is treated as a woman that does not worth the bride. Ironically, when men abduct women against their will, many find it distasteful, but also believe that an abducted woman will accept marriage because it can damage the honor of the family.

The author of “Bride Abductions in Kazakhstan” (2018) points out that bride kidnapping fits the international, and Kazakh definition of human trafficking. By “Beijing betrayed” (as cited in Conway.240, 2018) bride abductions were recognized as a form of "culture-based violence against women" in Kazakhstan at the Fourth World Conference on Women While at the same time drawing more attention to trafficking in human beings in the country, it appears that the government is confused about the status of marriage abductions. While meeting the criteria in the law to be regarded as a violation of trafficking in human beings, the abduction of brides is considered ' cultural, ' not ' criminal ' and therefore, above all, a reproach of the law or, at least, something that cannot be resolved in the current era of Kazakh nationalism and should therefore be ignored. 

Meanwhile Edelbay (2012) considers the intertwinement of Islam and kazakh traditions. Daily life of Kazakhs consists of a celebration of Islamic traditions. Most of them are Muslims and they celebrate at least some part of the Islamic tradition. For example, Nowryz - an ancient pre-Islamic holiday Iranian origin. One of the highest holidays is Naurys (New Year), celebrated on spring day. equinox, March 22. It celebrates New Year, the arrival of spring. Its name is translated from Persian means "New Day." Furthermore, kazakhs have a custom every Friday to bake a  “Jeti Shelpek” to commemorate the dead relatives. It is vital to plan the recognition scones after being filtered agreeing to the Muslim custom and with immaculate contemplations. At that point it is fundamental to say "Bismillah" - "For the purpose of Allah" and mentally inquire absolution from Allah for the recollected souls. Seven circular scones symbolize seven sky in the Quran. Edelbay (2012) concludes that today we can see the revival traditions of Kazakh.

Kazakh scientists A. N. Nysanbaev (2004), G. T. Telebayev (2003) (as sited in Aubakirova, Ismagambetova, Karabayeva, Rysbekova & Mirzabekova, 2016) believe that the idea of tolerance constitute a huge layer of spiritual culture of these nations and in particular of the Kazakh people. Among the important values and one of the cultural mechanisms of formation of the position of tolerance are the traditions of the Kazakh people. For example, the tradition of hospitality is a part of the moral code of any nation. In the Kazakh system of moral values hospitality occupies one of the top lines. It should be noted that the custom of hospitality is one of the most sustainable customs in Kazakhstan, and it has remained to this day. 


The purpose of this research is to study the Kazakh traditions and their role in modern world. The occurrence of globalization and other historical factors affected to the Kazakh traditions' compliance; therefore, some traditions have changed and some of them even disappeared etc. Therefore, in this project the main research questions are: 

  • What Kazakh traditions are not relevant in Kazakh modern society?
  • What are the advantages of Kazakh traditions?
  • Are people in modern Kazakhstan happy to follow current traditions?
  • Is it wisely to follow all Kazakh traditions in a modern world?

The opinions of experts on this topic and ordinary people will be considered to develop the final answer.


In this research paper about Kazakh traditions in a modern world have been used a couple of different methods to maximize project efficiency and to achieve the good and clear result. Information and data were collected from primary and secondary sources, which reduces the possibility of falsity. Literature review was ready at first to observe the background and general information about the research topic. Kazakh traditions are one of the topics that is often discussed among the people, despite this it was difficult to find credible and up-to-date sources on that topic.

Nevertheless, I tried to choose only credible sources in the literature review. For example, two sources are from the same educational site (e-history.com), where only people with historical know-ledge can write articles and then these articles are analysed by RAVEN - criteria credibility checker. Other sources are research papers of different authors that did research related to this topic, need to consider that all sources have been written over the last ten years, what makes them relevant, even all of them are secondary sources.

To identify Kazakh traditions in modern society, public opinion and opinion of experts are required, therefore, both qualitative as an interview and quantitative data as a survey was conducted. Survey was chosen as a method of collecting data, because:

  • It is a fast and effective way to get general and reliable data;
  • Good statistical significance: many people better show public opinion on this topic;
  • Little or no observer subjectivity: some people may respond not following their own opinion but following the expectations of others or of the observer.

Even when most people ignored the survey that I sent to the school e-mail, by sending it to the friends in other social media, I was able to get enough answers in a short time from Kazakhs as well as from other nationalities to know their opinion on this topic, too.

Likewise, interviews were used to collect reliable opinions of Kazakh representatives. The target population was people between 15 and 45 years old. Interviews were taken from 5 female representatives, choosing only women was not in the plan, however only them agreed to give interview. It may entail incompleteness of information as we do not take into account the point of view of male representatives, which may differ from women’s, when analysing the results. Each interview lasted 3-7 minutes, and I tried to use open-ended questions to get complete answers about their attitude on this issue. Unfortunately, the interviews did not last as long as I expected, because of what I could not get sufficiently deep answers to some questions. The reason of this problem may be that the interviewees did not understand the question, or they were in a hurry since all the interviews were taken during working hours.

According to the literature review and other background information I created the list of questions that need to be reviewed. I made up 5 questions in overall and all of them were connected between each other. Reasons for taking an interview:

  • Ordinary people are well informed about traditions, because it is an integral part of their life;
  • Interviews were taken from teachers as experts and students as ordinary people to identify how factors as an age and a knowledge affect to the answers of interviewee;
  • Interviews allow more detailed questions to be asked;
  • Interviews useful to obtain detailed information about personal feelings, perceptions and opinions.

Interviews were conducted in a semi-formal atmosphere, therefore the participants felt relaxed, but not too much according to the topic severity and relationships between interviewer and interviewee. It affected to get better answers; hence the quality of the collected data was slightly improved. Conversation was recorded with the consent of the interlocutor, and they signed an agreement. 


The Internet research was crucial, however not all the data that I found was relevant, the major suitable detections were described in the Literature Review section. 

The results of survey made possible to collect the general information about people’s opinion on this topic. Most of the surveyed people (67.3%) are between 10 and 20 years old. In the second place is people between 20-30 with 24 responses. 30-40 and 40-50 years old are at the last place with slight difference - 5 and 4 answers. Since the survey was advertised on social networks, where there are many young people, these results are not surprising.

90 questioned participants out of 101 are members of Kazakh nationality, 3 of them are from Kyrgyz nationality, 2 Russian, 1 person from Tatar nationality and two people wrote that they are mestizo (a person of mixed racial or ethnic ancestry).

Noting that responses for “Often” and “Sometimes” for the question “How often do you follow Kazakh traditions?” are equal – 32.7%. 15 people reported “Always” and 14 of them “Seldom”. The least number of people answered that they never follow the Kazakh traditions. These results show that Kazakh traditions are followed well, and their state is not so bad as expected. I expect that 4 people that answered “never” are from other nationality.

81 respondents answered that they learn about Kazakh traditions from their parents; it means that parents pay enough attention to the observance of traditions, facilitating their transfer from generation to generation. In the second place is the Internet as the tool to learn about Kazakh traditions (8,9%), which shows that people still interested in traditions and understand its importance. 5 people replied that they get information about traditions from their teachers, it explains that the educational institutions play a large part in raising of younger generations. Other 2% chose an option “Friends and acquaintances”, it says that entourage of the person can affect to his opinion, in particular, regarding this topic. Two people answered that they learned about traditions from their grandparents, considering the fact that the older generation pays great attention to the preservation of national values, such a small number of answers may be explained by the fact that children interact less with grandparents compared to past times or this might be my fault, because I did not add the option “Grandparents” and maybe they were too hurry to write in the option “Other”. Two people wrote that all these factors correspond their reality. 

More than half surveyed people think that it is important to follow national traditions in the modern world. This fact shows that, despite all changes, traditions are still valuable in our society. However, 29,7% people responded that they find this question hard to answer, this may represent that the view to the national values is changing and 11,9% respondents that chose the option “No” confirm this conclusion.

68 people out of 101 would like Kazakhs to be recognized by their traditions, 21 of them are find it difficult to answer, while 12 respondents disagreed. This information makes it possible to conclude that Kazakh traditions can represent Kazakhs in a better way by the opinion of major people, even almost 12% do not think so and about 21% did not choose one of two sides.

Many people chose the average in the runt what considers their assurance that Kazakh traditions are changed enough, but they still retained their meaning or the surveyed were not sure and chose the average option to preserve a neutral position. The least number of answerers said that traditions did not changed at all. 

In spite of last answers, votes for the option changing or adding something to the Kazakh were the highest, then the answer “No” get 30,7% votes and the option “Hard to answer” got the 22 answers.

There the situation is similar to the seventh question. Most people gave to the state of Kazakh traditions 3 points out of 5. It means that they are think that its state is good and stable, however some respondents may choose this option, because of their lack of knowledge.

Appendix sets out the full typescript of all interviews. The main findings from the interviews can be summarized as:

  • Data from first question shows that parents, relatives, the Internet, the school and the books play a big role in following and transferring traditions.
  • All interviewed people said that traditions are important, because they establish the national identity and preserves the unity of nation.
  • In response to the third question all interviewees consider that the World wars and the Soviet Union’s policy affected to the traditions the most.
  • More than the half of respondents disagreed to change the Kazakh traditions, because they are sorted over time.
  • Approximately all of respondents said that “bride kidnapping” is not relevant to our society, also “amengerlik” and giving the first-born child to the grandparents was referred as not a relevant traditions.

Generally, Kazakh traditions experienced a lot of historical events and sorted ovr time, however it is transferred from generation to generation thanks to the people that appreciate their national values. Of course, some of traditions are too old for the modern world and do not answer the human rights.


According to each of the research question it is possible to make the following conclusions.

  • What Kazakh traditions are not relevant in Kazakh modern society?

A long time ago traditions were like laws for steppe people, over time appeared new laws for all people and some traditions retire such as Bride Abductions. By this tradition man allowed to kidnap a girl that he liked, take her to his home, then she must accept his decision and marry him to not tarnish her parents. The reason why this tradition contrary the human rights is that people should choose their second half by their own decision and forcing someone to get married is immoral. Though today many people use this tradition to decrease the number of customs that should be performed, the real kidnapping also still occurs in modern Kazakhstan. Unfortunately, Kazakhs following this tradition blindly and girl kidnapping facts are usually do not followed by the law, therefore there are no reliable statistics on this topic.

  • What are the advantages of Kazakh traditions?

The description of our traditions might be explained in few words, such as respect for elders, hospitality etc. The main advantage is that thanks to these traditions people survived over the years and kept their national identity and unity. Traditions brighten up the lives of ordinary people and helped to oppose different difficulties. As9 follows, the traditions of Kazakhs are usually based on celebrating some special events and these traditions kept the stability in the society. Considering all these facts, we can say that Kazakhs with proud can be recognizable by their traditions.

  • Are people in modern Kazakhstan happy to follow current traditions?

The research says that most of the respondents would not like to change anything in Kazakh traditions, because they are sort over the decades anyway. Of course, some people agreed that current traditions need some improvements, some of them even do not answer the question properly may be because they did not understand the state of the traditions well, despite this, in a general, majority of people that participated in this research agreed that they are pleased with the Kazakh traditions.

  • Is it wisely to follow all Kazakh traditions in a modern world?

Considering all collected data, we can say that it is not wisely to follow all Kazakh traditions, because we are still having not relevant ones such as “Bride Abduction”. Apart this tradition almost all other traditions teach people to be a better person and interact with relatives more. We should remember that sorting over time occurs when people consciously ignore some traditions, allowing them to disappear.


Aubakirova, S., Ismagambetova, Z., Karabayeva, A., Mirzabekova, A. & Rysbekova S., (2016). Tolerance Issue in Kazakh Culture. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1115596.pdf 

Bakhytzhanuly, I., (2018). National Identity issues in Kazakhstan. Retrieved from https://e-history.kz/en/publications/view/national_identity_issues_in_kazakhstan__4803

Conway.240, (2018). Bride Abductions in Kazakhstan and Human Trafficking Discourse: Tradition vs Moral Acuity. Retrieved from https://u.osu.edu/osuhtblog/author/conway-240/

Edelbay, S., (2012). Traditional Kazakh Culture and Islam. Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/d802/2d1d611e1d3e5d8311ce4d89c1f9a61b54ba.pdf

Kabakova, M., (2013). Few Thoughts on Kazakh value systems and traditions: are they maintained enough? Retrieved from https://e-history.kz/en/publications/view/4226

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