Nowruz will be celebrated at ASU for the second time

16 March 2016 Faculty of Geography

Nowruz is translated from the Tajik language as “new day”. This is the name for the spring holiday, first day of New Year, day of vernal equinox. It is the most famous holiday celebrated by Persians – Iranians, Tajiks and Afghans. The main days of the holiday are 21 and 22 March.

Every country and every region celebrate the holiday in their own way.

In Tajikistan Nowruz is celebrated on 21–24 March. Different event are organized on these days. It is traditional to hold horse racing, strongmen wrestling and other sport games.

The holiday has a history of more than 60 thousand years. Many Tajik and Persian writers and sophists such as Avicenna, Al-Biruni, Omar Khayyam and Hafez mentioned Nowruz in their works.

The detailed information about the holiday is contained in Nowruznameh (the Book about Nowruz) by Omar Khayyam. Khayyam created the book out of sense of patriotism, love to his people’s ancient traditions, customs and holidays. The book describes the ceremonies accompanying the holiday with great respect. The author wrote that during Nowruz the particular ceremonies were not only held by the ordinary people, but also by the royalty.

Great attention is paid to the festive table preparation. The symbol of Nowruz and New Year is a festive dish Sumalak. Approximately one week before the holiday wheat grains are started to be soaked in a plate. The wheat gets couched by the celebration day. It is believed that the longer are the sprouts, the greater the harvest will be in the new year. Then the couched grains are pounded in a metal mortar and put into a large pot. After that water and flour are added to the pot and the mixture is boiled for 10-12 hours and stirred occasionally. The dish comes out very sweet, even though the sugar is not added at all. Sumalak must be ready before the sunrise on the main day of celebration. While cooking Sumalak, women and children sing the holiday songs and recite poems. Sumalak is not just ordinary food, it is a holy dish. This is why the main cook says sura (grace) Ihlos (Sincerity) from Koran before cooking. Sumalak is always shared with all neighbours, relatives and friends.

On 30 September 2009 Nowruz was added by UNESCO to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Since then the International Nowruz Day is celebrated on 21 March.

Altai State University will host the holiday for the second time in March 2016. Organizers, AIST members, ASU Students League, Tajik, Kyrgyz and Kazakh expatriate communities are currently in the process of Nowruz holiday program preparation. The guests will get an opportunity to get to know the unique Asian traditions and meet spring in the course of the bright Nowruz celebration.

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