Norooz, Nowruz, Navrouz!

Last Tuesday The General Assembly of the UN recognized the International Day of Nowruz, a spring festival of Persian origin. It has been celebrated for over 3,000 years in the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and other regions.

Nowruz, which literary means New Day in Persian, Dari and Tajik languages, is the traditional Iranian new year holiday celebrated by Iranian and many other peoples.  It marks the first day of spring and is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox (the start of spring in the northern hemisphere), which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed.

Welcoming the inclusion of Nowruz into the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on 30 September 2009, the text notes the festival’s “affirmation of life in harmony with nature, the awareness of the inseparable link between constructive labor and natural cycles of renewal and the solicitous and respectful attitude towards natural sources of life”.

The text was introduced by Azerbaijan’s representative, who said that, as a holiday celebrated in many parts of the world with themes important to all humanity, Nowruz encouraged intercultural dialogue and understanding.  Speaking after the Assembly took action on the draft, the representative of Iran marked its adoption by quoting lines of the Persian poet Jalaluddin Rumi that expressed the holiday’s theme of rebirth “on our planet and in our souls.”

According to the Permanent Mission of Tajikistan to the United Nations, recognition of March 21 as the International Day of Navrouz will promote strengthening of mutual understanding, mutual respect, peace and accord between the peoples.      

The term Nawruz first appeared in Persian records in the second century AD, but it was also an important day during the time of the Achaemenids (648-330 BC).

Today, the festival of  Nawruz is celebrated in many countries, including Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, as well as Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.  Many peoples in West and South Asia, Northeast China, the Crimea, as well as Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia also celebrate this holiday.

Please join us to celebrate Nowruz on Friday March 5 @ The Fremont Library — 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m,

and /or Saturday March 27@ the Union City Library 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m

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