Great part in the traditional culture of Kazakh people is occupied by the oral poetic art, which reflects their life, ideals and viewpoints.
Basic genres of oral poetic arts (Kazakh folklore):
heroic, social-domestic and lyrical-dramatic epos, ritual and lyrical poetry, historical songs, pastoral, magical, wedding and funeral songs, fairy-tales, traditions, legends, true stories, aitys, proverbs, sayings, riddles, rhetoric genres etc. All these genres appeared in different times, each of them went through the le longest way of development.
History of Kazakh folklore is closely linked with the ethnogeny of Kazakhs lasting for centuries and mostly finished by the beginning of XV century.
Folk poetry was accompanying the nomads during their all lives. It reflected all the important events: birth and death, war conflicts and peaceful labour, holidays and roaming.
Amongst the traditional oral poetic arts the following is distinguished:
“Kyryk batyry” (“Forty warriors”) is the epic collection that consists of forty sections about the deeds of forty warriors. And the performance of the poems of each section would last 7-10 days. It was written for the first time in 1942 from the words of narrator Muryn Zhyrau. “Kyryk batyry” refers to the epoch when the independent Kazakh political union did not yet exist and the tribe unions, which later constituted the ethnical basis of the Kazakh nation, were parts of Gold Horde, Crimean and Kazan Khanate. In the epos every warrior represents power and courage of the nomads being the national ideal of the leader of the tribe union.
The epos idea is the protection of the country’s independence, praising the fight against the foreign invaders, promotion of the unity of the nation. It expressly reflects the morals and traditions of the Kazakh people, shows such qualities as courage, justice, wisdom, tenderness and love for the native nation.
Study of these cultural artworks has a great meaning for the spiritual revival of the Kazakh nation, consolidation of the historical self-consciousness and for the popularization of the nomad civilization heritage and of the whole Turk world.