Kazakh Pregnancy, Childbirth and Childcare Traditions
Keywords:Kazakhs, ethnicity, nation, ethnography, traditions, food, childbirth
The article deals with customs and rituals related to pregnancy, childbirth and childcare among Kazakhs at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, and the preservation and changes in these traditions today. The article is based on written data, as well as field data collected by authors from East Kazakhstan. The customs of the Kazakh people are connected with those of neighbouring
people, including the Turkic-speaking people of Siberia and Central Asia.
The rituals associated with a pregnancy and childbirth have been divided into three main stages: prenatal customs, childbirth customs, and postpartum customs. We analysed the formation of these customs and their semantic meanings. This helps us to identify factors that have influenced and affected women’s position in the family and in society, as well as those factors that led to an increase or decrease in status. Kazakhs have a particular respect for pregnant women, and the status of women who give birth to sons, or to many children, is especially high.
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