Silk Roads Living Heritage Network

Description Nowruz—which means “new day”—is a holiday marking the arrival of spring and the first day of the year in Iran, whose solar calendar begins with the vernal equinox. Nowruz has been celebrated in Iran and the Persian diaspora for more than 3,000 years. Traditionally celebrated on the vernal equinox, many begin preparations for Nowruz weeks in advance. In the leadup to the holiday, people perform ritual dances and fill vessels in their home with water, which is associated with health, in an attempt to banish bad luck. The spring festival’s focus is fertility and new life, so it’s appropriate that many revelers celebrate with seeds and eggs. 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. In 2009, UNESCO, the cultural arm of the United Nations, listed the holiday on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
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