This day is the National Holiday of Kazakhstan and is celebrated annually on 16 December. If 16 December falls on a weekend, the following Monday will be a holiday.
This is a two day celebration with 17 December also a holiday. The holiday period may also be extended in some years with a third day depending on which days of the week 16 December falls.
The holiday marks the independence of Kazakhstan on 16 December 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Historically the Kazak region had been an area populated by nomadic tribes. In the 18th century, the Russia Empire made advances into the region, controlling the whole of Kazakhstan by the middle of the 19th century.
After the Russian revolution in 1917 and the creation of the Soviet Union, civil war erupted in the region with various attempts to bring the people in the region together. Finally in 1936, the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic was formed.
Following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Kazakhstan adopted the constitutional law on the independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan on December 16, 1991. Kazakhstan was the last of the Soviet republics to declare independence, four days after Russia.
Nursultan Nazarbayev, was elected the first, and to date, the only President of Kazakhstan.
Did you know?
Kazakhstan is the world's largest landlocked country by land area
The day is also a time to remember the victims of the events of December 1986. Resentment against the replacement of the First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Kazakh SSR Dinmukhamed Konayev with Gennady Kolbin from the Russian SFSR erupted into mass demonstrations by young ethnic Kazakhs in December 1986. Government troops suppressed the unrest, resulting in the deaths of several people and the incarceration of many demonstrators.
Kazakhstan Independence Day is marked by festivities in the presidential palace and many Kazakhs will dress up in traditional clothes. Kurts (traditional tents) will be set up in many villages where local delicacies will be served.