Norouz, the Persian New Year, was celebrated this year on 21st March. In Tajikistan people celebrated with traditional music and parades.
The day centres around spending time with family and enjoying eating special food together. The crowd turns out in special costumes. Everyone
dances, sings and visits relatives in the villages, and goes to the mountains to pick flowers. The party normally lasts for four days.
Norouz is a time of renewal and optimism for the future. People spring clean their houses and turn out in their best clothes. Special foods include samanu – a sweet pudding made from wheat germ, symbolizing affluence.
During the Soviet era, Norouz was banned, and people punished for celebrating it.
Mr Janibek Asrorian, Cultural Expert in Dushanbe, said: “In the 1930s when the intellectual classes were eliminated, our old calendar disappeared. The Soviet government completely banned Norouz thinking it was a religious ceremony. They didn’t believe that it was just a traditional human celebration.
“It is very important that the intellectual and cultural leaders of Afghanistan, Iran and Tajikistan cooperate in order to promote Norouz. We also have to include Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia, because they were also part of the Persian Empire. Given the message of Norouz, I think it can spread to other countries promoting unity and solidarity among all people,” added Asrorian.