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The birth of a child in a Kazakh family is still accompanied by a whole complex of interrelated rites and rituals. In this context, the first and most important type of traditional ritual baby clothing is the “itköilek” (literally translated as “dog shirt”). This is a vest made for a newborn from a one-piece cotton fabric (calico or coarse calico) that is slightly elongated and has no shoulder seams or edging. The fabric did not have to be new, the shirt could have been sewn from the clothes of an old man who had lived a long and happy life. The baby wore it from the first day until the fortieth day, that is, until his fortieth birthday. It is considered that his soul “belongs to the other world” until the 40 days after his birth. After forty days the child is «born» in the world of the living.

The ritual has several meanings:
the dog symbolizes the totem (by analogy with the wolf), in mythology – guards the entrance to the other world.

Dressing itköilek goes back to the oldest and lost cult of the dog – sacred animal, one of the elements “zheti qazyna” (the seven riches).

Similar shirts exist in Nogais – “it koilek”, in Karachaev – “itlik” etc. It was usually made from the worn-out clothes of an older family member – a man’s shirt or a woman’s dress, which was considered one of the signs of the child’s belonging to the family.