Calendar of Holidays and Traditions

January 1 – New Year Day.
New Year day is the first day of the New Year, according to Gregorian calendar. People in Kyrgyzstan celebrate with Ded Moroz (Santa Claus) and a Yolka (Christmas tree.) Usually the festivities start on December 31st. At midnight, people wish each other “Happy New Year” and celebrate with lavish feasts, music and fireworks.

January 7 – Russian Orthodox Christmas
The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates its Christmas, in accordance with the old Julian calendar, thirteen days after Western Christmas.

March 8 – International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is an occasion marked by women’s groups around the world. This date is also commemorated at the United Nations and is designated in many countries as a national holiday. On this day the women are given special attention and typically receive flowers and gifts.

March 21 – Nooruz (Spring festival)
Nooruz (Nowruz) came from the oldest Iranian traditions. The word “Nowruz” is a compound of two Persian words, “now” which has the same etymology as the English word “new” and means new, and the word “ruz” which means both “day” and “time.” Literally meaning the “new day,” nowruz is usually translated as “new year.” The Persian Nowruz begins on the first day of spring (usually the 21st of March).
Additional information:

May 1 – Labor Day
This International Workers’ Day commemorates the historic struggle of working people throughout the world, and is recognized in most countries. In the former Soviet Republic people held demonstrations and attended festivals and parades on this day.

May 9 – Victory Day (end of World War II)
Victory Day marks the final defeat of Nazi Germany by the Soviet Union in World War II. The celebration includes a military parade and culminates with fireworks.

August 31 – Independence Day
On August 31st, 1991 Kyrgyzstan gained independence from the Soviet Union.

September 11, 2010 – Orozo Ait (end of Ramadan)
The feast of breaking fast, the end of Ramadan. Ramadan is the month in which Muslims fast during the daylight hours. Kyrgyz people organize big feasts and celebrate with family and friends. They cook different dishes and make borsook.

November 17, 2010 – Kurman Ait (Feast of the Sacrifice) by the Muslim calendar
This is a holiday of sacrifice. Usually Kyrgyz people kill a sheep on this day and share it with friends, families, and poor people. It is a time to forgive the sins of others, as well.