Article "Kazakh National Calendar"

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Article "Kazakh National Calendar"

Peter Meyer
Kaldarhan A. Kambar has published on a long article
entitled "Kazakh National Calendar". This is based on his many years
study and research of the Kazakh nomad calendars.  Being a descendant
of Kazakh nomads, and instructed in this subject by his father, he
naturally has a great interest in this subject.

Just as among the Maya there were (and still are) people known as
'time-keepers' who kept track of the various Maya calendars, so too
among the Kazakh nomads were people known as 'Esepshi' who were
time-keeping specialists.  Part 1, Section 1, of Kaldarhan's article
introduces these Esepshi and their somewhat flexible concept of "amal"
used to define various temporal periods.  This leads to a brief
discussion of the concept of the monthly conjunction of the Moon and
the Pleiades star cluster as the basis of the main calendar of the
nomads, called "Togys Esebi" (which is treated in much greater detail
in Part 3).

Part 1, Section 2, of Kaldarhan's article describes the various Kazakh
nomad calendar systems, of which there are nine types, including an
11-year lunar-sidereal calendar and an 11-year lunar-synodic calendar,
both of which differ from Togys Esebi.

Part 2 discusses the 12-animal cycle of the peoples of Central Asia,
which differs significantly from the more familiar 12-animal cycle of
the Chinese Calendar.

Part 3 is a detailed explanation of Togys Esebi, the only known
fully-developed calendar which is based on the conjunction of the Moon
and the Pleiades star cluster, a conjunction which occurs once each
sidereal month, giving rise to a calendar of years which are seasonal.  
The cosmology of the Kazakh nomads was pre-Copernican, and they did not
employ our modern astronomical concepts to describe their cosmos.  
Instead they had myths and legends which provided the basis for the
popular understanding of cosmological time.  Part 3 begins with one
such legend, that of the "Fourteen Robbers".  Thereafter the author
provides a more 'scientific' explanation of how the nomads developed
and used the Togys Esebi calendar, based on three "keys to correct
understanding" and nine "principles", followed by five "riddles"
suggesting lines of further research on this subject.

The article runs to 53 pages and includes 9 tables, 11 figures and over
100 references, and is the only complete, authoritative account of the
Kazakh nomad calendars, and in particular of Togys Esebi, currently
available in English.

The article is available at
If unavailable to non-members of then the same article may
be read at
A much shorter explanation of Togys Esebi is available at

Peter Meyer