Nowruz: Celebration of springtime
One of humanity’s oldest festivals, “Nowruz”—which means “new day”—and the arrival of spring and the first day of the year in Iran, whose solar calendar begins with the vernal equinox, is celebrated in Iran and the Persian Diaspora for more than 3,000 years.
The United Nations officially recognized the International Day of Norwuz as an international holiday in 2010. The initiative was proposed by numerous countries who share the holiday including Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, India, Iran (the Islamic Republic), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan.
It’s also an official holiday in Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia’s Bayan-Ölgii province, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, and it’s widely celebrated in places like Turkey, Indian and other places with Persian enclaves. It is a secular festival that is enjoyed by people of several different faiths and as such can take on additional interpretations through the lens of religion
This is one of humanity’s oldest holidays, and although it may be often called Persian New Year, it predates the Persian Empire and can be traced back 5,000 years to the Sumerian and the Babylonian civilizations.
Novruz begins on either 20 March or 21 March, on the spring equinox, when the days and nights are of equal lengths, with days then becoming longer signifying the arrival of warmer weather.
In Kashmir it is celebrated with fervour and enthusiasm. The day is also known as Nauroz-e-Alam. On this day the youth join hands in planting the maximum possible number of trees. Massive plantation drives are organised across Kashmir for preserving the rapidly deteriorating environment.
People in Kashmir throng to practitioners of leech therapy, as it is believed that leech therapy is much more effective on this day. Farmers consider the day very auspicious and believe that a seed sown on Navroz blooms into a healthy plant.
Nauroz gives the message of social bonding and strengthen relationships. Nauroz is the sign of positivity that removes the negativity which have been occurred due to deep winters. Nowruz brings people together and promotes peace between different communities.
(The author is Incahrge Abhedananda Home-Higher Secondary Institution for Specially-abled Children, Solina, Srinagar)