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Assyk Game

Assyk games, a cherished ancient tradition in Kazakhstan, hold a significant place in Kazakh culture. Participants engage in this traditional activity with their own set of Assyks, traditionally crafted from the talus bone of a sheep, along with a brightly colored Saka. The objective of the game is to strategically use the Assyk to knock out other Assyks from the field, with a focus on bone positioning.


The Assyk games community encompasses a large portion of Kazakhstan's population, including members of the Federation 'Assyk Atu' Game, as well as a broader group of practitioners, primarily children aged four to eighteen. This outdoor activity not only nurtures children's analytical thinking and physical well-being but also fosters friendship and social inclusiveness. It serves as a positive example of collaboration, bringing people together regardless of age, ethnic background, or religious affiliation.


Assyk games are widely practiced during festive celebrations and gatherings, playing a pivotal role in preserving the tradition. The community takes pride in promoting Assyk games among other ethnic groups in Kazakhstan, transforming it into a national symbol of childhood. Transmission of the game occurs through observation, as older boys pass down their knowledge to younger ones. Additionally, radio and TV documentaries are produced to encourage children to engage in Assyk games and acquaint people with their rich cultural heritage.


© UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage