Language reflections of the concept of the sacred in the Kazakh worldview

The article focuses on the ways of representation in the language of sacred concepts in the worldview of the Kazakhs. The etymology of the term “sacred” used in the socio-political and scientific environment is given. The scientific and theoretical foundations of the concept of sacredness in historical consciousness are analyzed. The article reveals the concept of national value, sacredness, which is of particular importance in the Kazakh worldview. The concept of sacredness is considered from the point of view of the theory of language. It is determined that the sacred concepts for the Kazakh can be recognized in society through traditions and customs; reflected through linguistic units. The material of the study is set expressions, proverbs, and sayings. The practical significance of the study lies in the possibility of using its results, first of all, in teaching the disciplines of the philological cycle: language theory, linguoculturology, sociolinguistics.


The term “sacred” is often associated with religion and metaphysics. Basically, the concept of “sacred” is used in conjunction with the word “holy”. Philosophical dictionaries define the word “sacred” in Latin - sacer - reverence, declaration of holiness, dedicated to God, and the meaning of the word “sacral” in Latin - mysterium tremendum - an unknown force that can make a person happy or frighten [1].

Terminological dictionaries use the terms “sacred” and “cult” in parallel. From the Latin “cultus” - prayer, respect, care [2]. The meaning of “sacred” is complex. Thus, it represents the sanctity of a thing or a living being, a supreme mystical power.

According to E. Benvenis, “sacred” means a secret, and “sanctus” - a situation that arises from a ban imposed by man [3]. European scientists E. Durheim, R. Отто, М. Eliade have dealt directly or indirectly with the issue of sanctity. Scholars have come to different conclusions about the definition of the term sacred and have described its various features. Today, the word “sacred” has many meanings. The meaning of the word “sacred” in the Kazakh word M. Kashgari “Compendium of the languages of Turks” the definition of “personality” is given. Y. Balasaguni used the word in his work “Kutadgu bilig” the sacred word. In the Kazakh dictionary, there are two definitions of the word “sacred” - the first - in the old, sacred sense, the second - precious, honorable. S.I. Ozhegov’s explanatory dictionary states that “sacred - holy, important” - synonymous with the Kazakh interpretation [4]. A high level of reality that is ontologically different from the “sacred” everyday life; an epistemologically incomprehensible truth; amazing world in terms of phenomenon; axiologically, it is considered an absolute, imperative phenomenon. Scientist E. Durheim’s definition of sacredness is a social phenomenon in which social groups give images and symbols of sanctity to their social and moral intentions. According to E. Durheim, the main sign of sacredness is its inviolability, privacy and prohibition. R. Otto uses the sacred category as “numinosis” (from Latin numen - a sign of divine power); The excitement, the attraction, the sense of wonder that everyone has when they have another relationship that defines holiness. When a complex of numismatic emotions appears, it acquires an absolute value. Otto calls this value “sanctum” (from the Latin - sacred, holy), in the irrational sense – “augustum” (from the Latin - mighty, sacred). Therefore, the term “sacred” should be considered not only in terms of religion, but also in the sense as regards special respect, inviolability, noble, just deeds, customs. That is, objects associated with treasured, expensive, important features. Therefore, objects of historical, geographical and cultural significance are referred to as “sacred” status, ancestral spirits, the power of nature, indelible heroism.

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The sacred concepts are present throughout human life since he grows up with traditions and customs from the moment of birth. Kazakhs also have many traditions and customs. One of them is a national tradition associated with dates and numbers. In particular, giving special priority to the number seven, the Kazakh people revered the number seven considering it sacred. Evidence of this is the formation of the seven fathers, seven candles, seven cakes, seven days, giving seven, seven floors of land, seven charters, seven treasures. This suggests that all sevens have their roots in the word seven. The number seven signifies the maturity of one action.

In addition, we have a lot of proverbs and phrases relating to seven, such as “seven grandfathers do not know – enough”, “you eat a stick until you reach seven”, “seven floors underground”, “a son who knows seven grandfathers speaks for seven people”. It is an ancient tradition that Kazakh people do not marry youth if they have not reached the seventh generation to keep their offspring clean. Today, geneticists have proven it scientifically. Thus, marriage between tribe (descendants of one grandfather) was carried out only with the permission of the elders of the tribe, when they reached the seventh generation.

There are various traditions regarding a newborn baby since a baby is the future and the continuation of the nation. One of the main traditions is bringing a cradle. The cradle is brought by the baby’s mother side. After the birth of a baby, parents of baby’s mother visit in-laws to find out how their daughter is doing. This is a duty for parents. Because it is a great honor for the bride to be called “Mother”. Bringing a cradle is special tradition. The bride’s parents and relatives come as a group of people bringing the baby’s cradle and its equipment. Kazakhs try to make the cradle equipment beautiful. For example, the cradle has such parts as tubek, shumek, and a pillow for baby’s armpit and knee. They are never made of gray and dark fabrics. Small blankets are also made of light-colored fabrics.

Besides, there are many beliefs related to the baby’s cradle. For instance, to teach the baby cleanliness Kazakhs kept the cradle always clean making sure that it is neither wet nor dirty. Another example of such belief is a feather of owl. An owl feather is often placed on the head of the cradle. According to the study of etnographers, owl feathers contain Quran Verses. Therefore, it is considered sacred among birds protecting from evils. Kazakhs believe that owl feather wards off evil spirits; thus owl feather is attached to the cradle to keep the baby asleep and protect from the devil, to the girls’ saddle to bring happiness, to the wedding curtains of newlyweds, and to the dombra of the swordsmen with the intention of success. When the child was circumcised and put on a fork, he put an owl on his turban to “protect it from evil”. In the past, our heroes even wore an owl's feather on a spear. We know it from the words of Kazybek bi: "... our country with a spear". In the tradition of betrothal to a Kazakh girl, he goes to the house of a new cousin and performs the ritual of "wearing an owl". He does not kill the owl to get its feathers. It is believed that the murderer was beaten. He hunted owls, took baby feathers and liver feathers, and fed them. This is called "owl repair". Kazakh poet, A. Baitursynov, describes owl as a “guide” bird in the poem "Donkey and Owl". There are many legends, phrases, metaphors and riddles about the owl. For example, “Owl is as like blur” (G.Musrepov), “Owl is as like fan” (S.Mukanov), “Flying like an owl”, “Owl-eyed shining” (I.Zhansugurov). There are a lot of proverbs and sayings about the cradle are used for educational purposes and passed down from generation to generation: “The bird is awake, the door is made of gold", "The one who has not seen the cradle enters the door like a fool", "If there is a cradle in front of you, the judge will bow down".

The child in the cradle goes through several stages as he grows up. Time and human life also develop as in a spiral, each circle of which covers twelve years – the mushel age. The mushel age is anniversary old calculation of a person's age on a twelve-year cycle [5]. The age of a person did not depend on the number of years he lived, but on the mushels he experienced (in the sense of a "twelve-year cycle"), so for the Kazakh people a particular birthday was not important, but the transition from one to twelve years - 13, 25, 37, 49, 61 years old. The sacred significance of the transition from one mushel to another was traditionally celebrated by the Kazakh people through a big feast mushel age. The transition to the next mushel was especially important for the man, who had to observe a series of protective and magical actions to successfully pass the next twelve years: be careful, do not act rash, because it was at this stage. It is also reported that it is vulnerable to the influence of evil spirits [6].

Results and discussion

Our ancestors, who always occupied the steppe, did not settle in one place for a long time. In this regard, we consider the yurt of A. Seidimbekov, a culturologist - a small model of the world, consisting of three parts: seven layers of underground, seven layers of blue and a large surface. The yurt is also divided into three parts: the base, the belt and the shanyrak, which means vertical. Just as the god of the blue dome is a goddess, so the roof of a yurt is the most sacred part. Not only his home but also his belt and threshold are considered sacred. Mythological space is a space in the human mind, the image of the world, formed on the basis of a mythical legend that explains the creation of the world, the earth, the mountains and cosmic objects. Ethnocultural space is the environment, the world, the common space in which a person lives. Researcher T.Kh. Gabitov says: “Every national culture operates not in an empty space, but in a humanized environment. Cultural space is not an isolated, eternal heritage. It is a field of historical flow. An important feature of the cultural space is its mysterious nature. The end of the kerege connects with the lower world, and the head is in contact with the upper world” [7]. There is a saying, "When a deceiver comes and kills a person to kill him, blood spills up to the third sky of the kerege." The foundation of the house and the threshold of the door are also connected with the lower world and are considered sacred. This space also belongs to the intermediate boundary. If the newborn does not stop, the baby's husband is buried under the threshold. The notion of a three-tier model of the world is preserved in a monument to the ashes: Man lives in space with other living beings. The general structure of space includes sky, earth, mountains, water bodies. According to the mythological type of thinking, space is recognized as non-homogeneous and non- homogeneous.

Sh. Valikhanov shows in his work "Remnants of shamanism in the Kazakh people": "Kazakh people attach great importance to clothing. … The Kazakh people have a home, a cradle and a threshold. He never set foot on all three of them. These three are always in touch with each other. These three sacred objects were burnt without being trampled underfoot, even when they were very old, and their ashes were buried without being trampled on ” [8].

Because any house starts from the threshold, the beginning of the fire starts from that threshold. In some areas, they make nests for storks from very old shanyraks. In this way, our ancestors were able to turn the once smoky shanyrak into a nest for a bird that raises its young here.

There were those who destroyed the shanyrak, it is said that "the shanyrak was torn down, the cradle was destroyed". This is the work of the enemy. In the past, people used to tell outsiders that "there are so many houses and so much smoke in the village." If you climb the roof, the smoke rises. A house where there is no smoke and no one is left is called "fire extinguished". Or to those who are overweight, "Oh, look at the house!" that is. Our wise people also say to each other: "Let the smoke fly straight", "Let your home be high", "If the family is friendly, the light is on", "Let the light go out".

Zhagda Babalykuly, an eminent ethnographer and an expert on the ancient way of life of our people, said: When he went to sleep, he would not blow out the candle. Pressing the shaft off. This is also polite. And putting out fires is not a good ritual. You are like extinguishing your own fire. It is not for nothing that our people say, "Let the fire go out," "Let your lamp go out."

We note that in the traditional beliefs of the Kazakh people, sacred birds and animals are considered to be the singers of goodness, the source of prosperity, the bringer of happiness, the symbol of good fortune.

Animals are especially valued creatures. In the traditional beliefs and customs of the Kazakh people there are many sacred animals and birds, as evidenced by the use of various images and symbols in their lives, especially the image of an eagle on the flag of our country and the image of a double swan for married young people. Also we gave information about owl before people use of bird's wings and claws in the cradle of a young child or in special places in the house as a protective element of the occult forces, demons.

Korkyt Ata, Y. Dukenuly, N. Tlendiyev's "Swan" kuis, S. Seifullin's "Swan's separation", M. Makatayev's works "Swans are asleep" are a proof of love for swans.

The main species of totem birds of the Turkic peoples is the eagle. Some tribes and clans see themselves as eagles and see them as their guardians and protectors. Our people highly valued the eagle, saying: "The king of birds is an eagle, the king of beasts is a lion", "The ruler of the blue sky", "The eagle of the bird", "The steppe warrior", "The god of wings", "The celestial fairy". Turkologist L. Gumelev called the Turks "people's army", they considered themselves "God's army", which is why the Kazakh people used the flag as a banner of war and heroism, the symbol of which was the eagle. Genghis Khan, a Turk, wrote in the collection "Laws of the Army": We know that this is a sign of contempt for the eagle. A true warrior must be as vigilant as an eagle. In this regard, the national notion of "the eagle is one of the seven treasures" or "one of the seven noble men" was formed. The blue flag of our modern independent country also depicts an eagle. Kazakh people and Kyrgyz have the following traditions as protectors of young children and to avoid danger. In ancient times, eagles were considered sacred by their mothers when they were born. The eagle's claws are attached to children's clothes to protect them from the evils. The great love of our people for the eagle is connected with the name of their son "Eagle". The phrase "From chicken to everyone" is often found in the country. B. Momyshuly's daughter-in-law used the same phrase in one of her works, which says that everything from an eaglet to an eagle is related to the age of an eagle. Hence, there is reason to believe that the Kazakh people flagged the war and glorified heroism, the symbol of which was the eagle.

Professor G.N. Smagulova said: "Phraseology in the Kazakh language reflects the national mentality, views and worldview of the nation through the assessment and description of the environment and phenomena in terms of ethnicity," and Malik Gabdullin said: . Their models were born in ancient times and developed over many centuries in the process of formation, development and growth. In this way, it is constantly changing and renewing in accordance with various social and class aspirations "[9].

Every nation has its own ethnic differences. They are often observed in the life, profession and art of the people. Similarly, linguistic units associated with a sacred concept are characteristic. The Kazakh people generally believe that a certain number of animals is sacred and special, because each animal is called a sack. During calving, he gave names to the periods, such as "kuralay", "tekenin burkyly".

He was born and raised in Kazakh peopletan. He knew his age, behavior, appearance and qualities better than anyone else. In particular, the young foal of the horse - "foal", the foal is more than six months - "coat", and the foal is more than one year - "tai", the two-year-old - "kunan", the three-year-old - "donen", the four-year-old - "bes". Two-year-olds are called “heifers”, three-year-olds are called “heifers”, three- year-olds are called “heifers”, four-year-olds are called “five mares”, seven-eight-year-olds are called “mare”, eleven- Fourteen-year-olds are called "noble mares", and those over twenty are called "created mares". In other populations, there is no clear classification according to these age characteristics.

Skilled riders on fast horses took part in competitions, games and celebrations. For Kazakh people, the horse was considered more important than life friends. Horses were used together with the main character of nomadic legends, songs and heroic epics. Gray name of the famous commander Kultegin, Kulager of Akan Seri known to Alash, Taiburyly of Kara Kipchak Kobyland, Baishubary of Alpamys batyr, Tarlan of Er Targyn. In other words, the horse is a friend and supporter for the Kazakh people, as evidenced by such proverbs as "A horse in a peaceful day - a car, in a difficult day - a companion", "A nameless leg has no legs", "A man's wing is a horse". Thus, he was described as a reliable companion of the heroes who defended their land and country from the enemy. The loss of a horse was a great tragedy.

Therefore, the horse is considered one of the most sacred animals in the Kazakh worldview. Once upon a time, there were totem animals in the settlements of the peoples of the world. Residents believed that these animals would protect them from dangers and enemies. Over time, settlements became a state, growing territorially and economically, and animals in powerful totems were used in state symbols. For example, the image of a horse is reflected in the emblem of the modern Republic of Kazakh peopletan. However, some animal symbols do not have such deep roots, but they are due to completely different reasons. All the animals that are known to us by other countries fauna and are considered official and unofficial symbols have a mythical character.


In conclusion, the importance of the concept of sacredness to the Kazakh people is obvious. Every time our ancestors inhabited the steppe, they considered mountains and birds sacred and highly valued them. We know from the evidence that sacred animals and birds have a special place in the nomadic lifestyle of the Kazakh people, that is, in their civilization. Swans, owls and horses are revered for our people. There are many proverbs, riddles, phrases and phraseological units and legends about birds, carved from the ancient literary and historical heritage of the Kazakh people, and it is time to absorb and use the riches of the spiritual world in the minds of future generations. It is the duty of every citizen of the country to show the wisdom and wisdom of the Kazakh nation on the world stage.

In addition, the sacred animals and birds have long been a symbol of the higher world, the world of wisdom, the world of ancestors. This is especially true of births, weddings, and funerals. "Horse sacrifice" is a common ritual for all Turkic peoples, it is recognized as a means of transporting the soul of the deceased to another world. The sign of human death connected all prehistoric life with the horse. To show and prove the significant contribution of our nation to the development of civilization, that is, to declare that the Kazakh people are the descendants of a smart, intelligent people, in addition to the notion that they migrate only from one place to another. Generations continue on the basis of inexhaustible spiritual wealth.



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Year: 2022
City: Karaganda
Category: Philology