Epic of Manas Day in Kyrgyzstan Date in the current year: December 4, 2018

Epic of Manas Day in Kyrgyzstan Epic of Manas Day is a cultural observance in Kyrgyzstan celebrated on December 4. It was initiated by the Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism of the Kyrgyz Republic in 2015. The initiative was supported by the parliament and then approved by the government.

The Epic of Manas is a traditional epic poem that tells the story of the eponymous hero of Manas, his followers and his descendants. Consisting of approximately 500,000 lines, it is one of the longest epic poems in history, alongside the Tibetan Epic of King Gesar and the Sansrkit Mahabharata.

The age of the Epic of Manas is unknown, as it was transmitted orally by manaschis, traditional Kyrgyz storytellers who tell the epic poem in a melodic chant unaccompanied by musical instruments. The first attempts to record all three episodes of the epic (Manas, Semetei and Seitek) were made in the 1920. There are about 80 written versions of Manas, the classic ones are based on the oral versions by two renowned manaschis, Sayakabay Karalaev and Sagymbay Orozbakov.

The Epic of Manas is the centerpiece of Kyrgyz literature. Manas Day was created to popularize the epic poem among the younger generation, contribute to its preservation, and support manaschis. The holiday is marked with various cultural events held throughout Kyrgyzstan.

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