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Kazakhstan celebrates its own Valentine’s Day 15 апреля 2011, 14:51

Almaty and Astana are celebrating Kazakh St Valentine’s Day that will culminate in thousands of sky lanterns being sent up in the air.
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Photo courtesy of ekaterinburg.dorus.ru Photo courtesy of ekaterinburg.dorus.ru
Almaty and Astana are celebrating Kazakh St Valentine’s Day on April, 15. The holiday is called Ulttyk Gashyktar Kunine Oray (meaning All Lovers' Day in the Kazakh language). Almaty celebrations will take place at the crossing of Al-Farabi and Navoi streets in the Park of the First President at 9 p.m. Several thousand participants are promising to show up for the event. Astana celebrations will take place in the National Tennis Club at the crossing of Kabanbay Batyr and Kosmonavtov streets. The celebration will culminate in thousands of sky lanterns being sent up in the air. The sky lanterns are small light paper bags propelled into the air by hot air generated by a small piece of burning fuel dangling blow the bag’s lower open end. The launch is scheduled to take place at 10 p.m. Asian nations believe that by launching a sky lantern a person lets go of all his troubles and sicknesses and keeps only happiness and long life. Dancing, singing and love poetry competitions are expected to take place as well. The event is expected to be remembered as a flash mob ‘bomb’. 4300 Vkontakte users have already confirmed their participation on-line. 5278 users have registered themselves as possible attendants. Vkontakte is a Russian equivalent of Facebook social network. This holiday is part of the government’s effort to revive Kazakh national culture. About a decade ago an attempt was made to create a Kazakh alternative of St. Valentine’s Day. The holiday was named the Day of Kozy Korpersh and Bayan Sulu after two lovers from a 13 century Kazakh epic. April 15 was selected because in mid-April the weather usually starts to warm up all over the vast country. Back then the effort did not catch up much. But now Almaty and Astana are undertaking a new attempt to revive it.
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