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Kazakhstan Independence Day

National Day in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan, the world's ninth largest nation – officially called the Republic of Kazakhstan – proclaimed its sovereignty on 25 October 1990 and complete independence on 16 December 1991. December 16, is the most significant day in the events calendar of Kazakhstan as it marks the collapse of the Soviet Union and complete autonomy of the nation. Subsequently, on 21 December 1991, the country announced its integration with the Commonwealth of Independent States. The government policies were reframed and consolidated under the presidentship of Nursultan Nazarbayev, who held on to the position for more than two decades.

Independence Day Celebrations
The day is celebrated as a National Holiday all over Kazakhstan and is observed through parades, street festivals, and fireworks. If December 16 is already a weekend, then the following Monday is declared a holiday. It is a two-day celebration as December 17 is also considered a holiday.

The people of the country celebrate their National day with gusto and zeal. They wear their traditional outfits – Kazakh clothes – and enjoy the holidays by singing, dancing, by organizing games, and indulging in other fun-filled activities. In other words, Kazakhstan Independence Day is filled with festivities everywhere and in the presidential palace. Traditional tents called Kurts are set up in several villages where local dainty dishes are served.

It is also a time when people pay tribute to the victims of December 1986 episodes. As people were filled with indignation at the replacement of Dinmukhamed Konayev, the first secretary of the Communist Party of the Kazakh SSR with Gennady Kolbin from the Russian SFSR. The feeling of indignation gained huge momentum in the form of mass protests by young Kazakhs. It ended with the death and detention of several protestors at the hands of government forces.

Above all, the Independence Day celebrations in Kazakhstan allow its people to reflect on the accomplishments of a budding nation and chart a future course of actions for further growth and development.

National Flag of Kazakhstan
It is quite interesting to note that the latest National Flag of the nation was chosen after much deliberation in a national contest that was held for the same purpose and which received almost six hundred submissions. The flag is simple and yet very symbolic that has much to say.

The dominant color blue in the background of the flag is suggestive of peace and unity among its people. The color of sky signifies purity and infinity.

The sun – It has 32 beams in the shape of a grain – the grain that is a base for profusion and prosperity.

Then, speaking of the sun, which is a source of life and vitality was symbolic of the movement and progress for nomads. It was also a tool to estimate time. Under the statute of heraldry, the silhouette of the sun implies abundance and good fortune.

The eagle – epitomizes astuteness and perspicacity. For people living in steppe, the eagle stands as a symbol of freedom, independence, ambition, and strength to overcome difficulties and impediments.

Besides, the national ornament towards the left, along the line of the staff, makes an identification with the traditions and culture of the nation.

History on Independence Day
Historically, the region of Kazak had been inhabited by nomadic tribes. In the 18th century, the Russian forces encroached on the region, taking complete sway of the whole of Kazakhstan by the mid of the 19th century.

The region in 1920 became part of the Kirgiz Autonomous Republic created by the Soviet officials, but in 1925 the name was changed to the Kazakh Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Kazakh ASSR). Finally, in the year 1936, the region was declared a complete Soviet republic, the Kazakh SSR.

However, on account of the region's rigorous agricultural development and its utilization for the testing of nuclear weapons by the Soviet government, grave environmental issues arose by the end of the 20th century. Therefore, following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the nation embraced the constitutional law on the sovereignty of the Republic of Kazakhstan on 16 December 1991. In 1997, the government of Kazakhstan changed its capital from Almaty (the biggest city) to Astana.

Last Updated : November 22, 2014

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