Marking the ancient
festival of Nowruz
has a long and rich historical background in Afghanistan. Residents of old Aryana (Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan) marked the first day of spring and new solar year by holding particular ceremonies and considered the New Year as a good omen. In Afghanistan, the people celebrate the beautiful Nowruz festival with special tradition.
Why Nowruz? A number of researchers and writers call the day as ‘Jamshidi Nawruz’. The Shahnameh credits the foundation of Nowruz to the mythical Iranian King Jamshid, constructed a throne studded with gems. He had demons raise him above the earth into the heavens; there he sat, shining like the Sun. The world’s creatures gathered and scattered jewels around him and proclaimed that this was the New Day ‘Nowruz’. This was the first day of new solar year.
Some believe that the splendor of the Babylonian festivities at this season led people to develop their own spring festival into an established New Year feast, while some writers say that the root of Nowruz goes to Zoroastrian.
In Afghanistan, the festival of Nowroz is celebrated in various cities.
The celebration of Nowruz in the Persian-speaking world goes back hundreds of years. In 2010 the United Nations General Assembly recognized the International Day of Nowruz, describing it as a spring festival of Persian origin which has been celebrated for over 3,000 years. The festival has since been officially registered on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Gul-e- Surkh festival: The Gul-e- Surkh festival which literally means Red Flower Festival (referring to the red Tulip flowers) is the principal festival for Nowruz. It is celebrated in Mazar-i- Sharif during the first 40 days of the year when the Tulip flowers grow in the green plains and on the hills surrounding the city. People from all over the country travel to Mazar-i-Sharif to attend the Nowruz festivals. Various activities and customs are performed during the Gul-e- Surkh festival, including the Jahenda Bala event and the Buzkashi games. In Herat, people usually gather in recreational parks inside and outside of Herat city and celebrate Nowruz and the first days of the New Year as well as the first Wednesday of the year. In Kabul, the people hold ceremonies and celebrate the festival of Nowruz in various areas as Khawaja Safa, Shah Shaheed, Sakhi hill, Kariz Mir, Istalif Hill and Charikar’s Gulghundi. Meanwhile, on the first day of New Year, the ceremony of Jahenda Bala is held in Kart-e-Sakhi with participation of a large number of people and government officials.
Jashn-e Dehqan: Jashn-e Dehqan means the Festival of Farmers. It is celebrated on the first day of year, on which the farmers walk in the cities as a sign of encouragement for the agricultural production. In recent years, this activity is being performed only in Kabul and other major cities, in which the mayor and other high governmental personalities participate in watching and observing.
It is worth mentioning that the celebration of Nowruz in the Persian-speaking world goes back hundreds of years. In 2010 the United Nations General Assembly recognized the International Day of Nowruz, describing it as a spring festival of Persian origin which has been celebrated for over 3,000 years. The festival has since been officially registered on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.