Kazakh National gammes
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Many Kazakh holidays and festivities are accompanied by games and horse-riding contests.
For instance, the game called KYZ KUWU - Catch the girl- used to be an essential part of a
wedding rite. The task of the bridegroom riding after a horse-riding riding bride was not
just to catch her but to prove his love towards her and thus- to prove his right for her.
The most original and peculiar, though for some strange reason forgotten nowadays, are the
games connected with matchmaking and wedding. Their value is not just about a maximal
showing the spiritual culture of the people as a nation, but it also aimed at turning a
rite into a wonderful show-performance by means of various games.
It goes without saying that in all the rites with the games the people wanted to see their
young men brave, strong, smart and crafty.
In steppe conditions one could develop these qualities only through participating in games,
ALAMAN BAIGA- races for longer distances,
ZHORGA ZHARYS - riding exercises on amblers,
KOKPAR - team contest of rider groups for seizing and taking possession of a
slaughtered goat's body,
JIGYT ZHARYS- contest two riders compete for quickest saddling and covering first
a certain distance,
ZHAUGASHTY- young people chases after an imaginable enemy in order to
strike him with a whip,
AUDARYSPAK- the aim of the participating rivals is to pull the other from his horse saddle.
KUMIS ALU- exercise one has to pick up a coin from the ground without leaving the horse
saddle while riding at full tilt. Finally,
KAZAKSHA KURES- the contesting guys are supposed to have a wrestling match while riding
Since the games were not only an entertaining sport but also contributed to development
of life-important skills the games were aimed at raising the young guys to be physically
sound and respectful towards the elders and their own duties towards the community,
their family and relatives.