March 22nd, 2021
By Staff reporter
On Saturday, March 20, people from across the world including Pakistan, Iran, India, Afghanistan and other central Asian countries celebrated the coming of the Persian New Year, Nowruz. Nowruz, which literally means new day, is observed to memorialize the coming of spring.
The Nowruz festival has been celebrated since 6 BCE and was originally a festival of Zoroastrianism but today it is celebrated by a variety of cultures and religions including Muslim Shias, Islamilis and Bahaiis.
In Pakistan the biggest celebrations of the festival take place in the Gilgit Baltistan region. In addition to the people of Gilgit Baltistan Shias, Islamilis and Bahaiis living across Pakistan celebrate this festival with religious zeal. In recent times this ancient festival has been modernized by the youth of our country with celebrations popping up across the urban centers of the country.
Although traditions vary from country to country and region to region there are many unifying features. People across the world light bonfires to celebrate the coming of the year. People gather around these fires, jump over it and present traditional dances to celebrate their respective cultures.
Families gather and feasts are served. Tables are decorated with the haft sin (seven dishes) with each representing a core human value. In addition to the haft sin Sabzeh (blooming plants) are also kept at the center of the table to represent growth and birth, a key message of this. Similarly, eggs have special association with Nowruz as they represent fertility, & intricately painted eggs are used to decorate tables.
Nowruz can be called the festival of life and loved ones and gives a message of peace and solidarity to humankind regardless of their race, religion or culture. The day has been recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and cultural organization.