Today Kazakhstan celebrates Defender of the Fatherland Day
The whole country annually celebrates the Fatherland Defenders’ Day on May 7. In 2012, eight years ago, the holiday received a status of a national holiday. The day of the celebration wasn’t chosen by chance. On May 7, 1992 – 28 years ago – the First President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev signed a decree on the establishment of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The country pays a great attention to the development of the Armed Forces. Measures are being taken to enhance the professionalism of the military personnel. Serving in the Army is now considered prestigious in Kazakhstan. For many young men joining the military is the first step in making a career in the law enforcement agencies.
According to the annual tradition, on the Defender of the Fatherland Day, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Kazakhstan issues a decree on awarding new military ranks and presents awards to the distinguished military men. It is officially a day off in Kazakhstan. Festivities are held across the country on May 7 every year in order to celebrate the public holiday.
However, this year there will be no festivities to mark the Fatherland Defenders’ Day in Kazakhstan due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People will be celebrating the holiday at their homes. Traditionally, men receive congratulations and gifts from women, even if some of them are not in the military. The holiday is perceived in the Kazakh society as ‘a men’s day’, a so-called analogue to the International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on March 8.
“There are two days of the year when the female members of our family congratulate our men. We continue celebrating the holiday on February 23, because the head of our family served in the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union. May 7 is a holiday for all the Kazakh men. However, women are also looking forward to celebrating this holiday every year, because it gives them a special reason to pay attention to all the men that surround their lives, including dads, brothers, boyfriends and sons,” says Assel Suleimenova, a resident of Nur-Sultan.
“Unfortunately, this year we won’t go to the square to watch the military parade. However, we will not leave the head of our family without congratulations. This is an important holiday for us – the day of a man, who protects our family. We are preparing a special gift for him. Our daughter and I will make a handmade gift, because we would like to put our souls into it. Usually, on May 7, we would cook beshbarmak, which is the main dish of the Kazakh national cuisine, and gather all our extended family together, but this year we will be celebrating the holiday in a close circle,” says Maira Dzhiyengulova, a resident of Nur-Sultan.
The Defender of the Fatherland Day was established in 1922 in the USSR. Since then it was celebrated on February 23. Though Kazakhstan has shifted the celebration to May 7, some other post-Soviet countries continue celebrating it in February.