BISHKEK. Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev congratulated the Orthodox Christians of the country on their forthcoming Xmas (“Rozhdestvo”) which will be celebrated on January 7. Akayev said that the official celebration of the Muslim and Christian festivities helps to strengthen civil society and peace and unity between Kyrgyzstanis. According to unofficial data, there are about 1 mln Christians out of 5 mln population of the country. The religious festivities of Muslims and Christians, as well as the pre-Islamic Turkic-Iranian New Year of “Nooruz” (Norouz, Nevruz) became the officially recognized holidays in Kyrgyzstan only after the collapse of the Communist regime in 1991.
Compiled and translated by Tyntchtykbek Tchoroev and edited by Donald Hill in Prague