Tyl Ashar: Kazakh tradition of sending child to first grade

Kazakh culture today remain steeped in traditions and customs that have been practiced for centuries by generations. In Kazakhstan, people practice these traditions seriously.

Similarly to the Back to School week in the United States when children end a summer of fun and day camps, and start the new school year, Kazakhstan has a tradition for sending a child to school for the first time. It is called Tyl Ashar, which translates to “Initiation into Education”.

Tyl Ashar
Children in Kazakhstan start school at the age of seven years old, and the whole family and community supports the child in this new adventure. In honor of Tyl Ashar, parents arrange a ceremony and invite guests.The guests congratulate the parents, wish good luck to the child, and give baygazy – a tradition of giving a gift.

On this occasion, parents will serve a feast of lamb, manti and baursaki, other delicious Kazakh food and sweets. Elders give their blessing to the child.

In honor of the child’s ancestors, the child will then recite by memory to the guests each of his Zhety ata (seven generations of grandfathers).