By: Lailuma Noori
Nawroz; the most historic, oldest and widespread common tradition among nations and tribes of the Nawroz member countries. It revives and give new motivation to the mind of human being.
Nawroz has been as the biggest festival attended by various nations of Asia to mark the first day of spring for thousands of years.
The geography of Nawroz is widespread and expanding as today lots of countries celebrate it. It is marked in Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kirghizstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, a part of Turkey, Iraq and Syria, some parts of Pakistan and India. Meanwhile, those refugees who have left their home countries and settled in other parts of the world are celebrating Nawroz as the first day of spring.
The name of ‘Nowruz’ comes from the ancient Avestan language meaning ‘new day’ and the festival symbolises the rebirth of nature, new life and new beginnings.
Although Nowruz has Persian and religious Zoroastrian origins, the festival has been celebrated by a diverse array of communities for thousands of years. Today, 300 million people celebrate the festival worldwide, including most in Afghanistan, to promote the values of peace and solidarity both within families, among friends and across communities.
In Afghanistan, celebrations usually last around two weeks, culminating on the first day of the Afghan New Year, which in Afghanistan will be celebrated on Sunday 21st March. People are happy during Nowruz. They buy new clothes for their children. They host parties for their friends and family and they cook a traditional food named “Samanak” on Nowruz days. The girls and women sing songs during the cooking of Samanak. It is a happy time for Afghans particularly children.
As for larger celebrations, in Mazar-i- Sharif, the Guli Sorkh festival or Red Flower festival starts on Nowruz and includes seeing red tulips bloom; Jahenda Bala, the raising of a colourful banner outside the Blue Mosque on Nowruz itself, and a tournament of Buzkashi, the national sport that involves horses and goats.
At home, Nowruz celebrations include preparing Haft Mewa, which literally means seven fruits, and is a fruit salad made up of seven kinds of dried fruit. This is prepared instead of or in addition to the Haft Sin, an arrangement of seven items, whose names start with the Persian letter “sin,” that symbolise what people want in the New Year. For example, “Sin” meaning garlic is traditionally placed on the spread as a symbol of health.
The day following Nowruz is Farmer’s Day, which is marked across the country with ceremonies and displays of agricultural products and livestock. A large, multi-day exhibition is held in Badam Bagh, Kabul each year, at which new ideas and practices, as well as products, are traded between farmers.
This year’s Nawroz comes amid of increasing insecurities, targeted killings and IED blasts and efforts being made in national and international level for peace in Afghanistan. Hope the New Year brings peace and stability to the country.