Uzbekistan will have nation-wide celebration of Navruz – Solar New Year Holiday
On March 21st, more than 300 million people, living in the territory stretching from Xinjiang in the East, Macedonia in the West, the Indian Ocean in the South, and Russian regions of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan in the North celebrate the Navruz holiday. Navruz is translated as “New Day” and marks the beginning of the New Year by the Solar calendar. On March 21st the length of the Day and the Night are equal. On March 22nd, the Day becomes longer than the Night.
In Uzbekistan people believe that the “good deeds” made by a person during the thirteen days of Navruz, will be continued to be done by him throughout the year. As a tradition, commonly practiced forgiving each other for harm, inflected in previous times, forging a new friendships and bringing harmony to their lives. According to popular beliefs, a lot of during holiday depends on the first person how comes to your house. The first guest of the “New Year” should have a quiet and kind in character, be with a good sense of humor, with a good name and reputation, and most importantly – have a “happy foot”, which means bring a good luck and abundance to the house. Since ancient times in Uzbekistan during Navruz large folk festivals, festive bazaars, horse races, dog and cockfighting were organized. Many traditions have been remained up to this day.
Navruz is an official holiday in 10 countries: Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Macedonia. For over three thousand years, our people have been celebrating Navruz by Solar calendar.
In 2010, the UN General Assembly declared March 21st as an International Day of Navruz and called upon all countries to make efforts to popularize this ancient holiday all around the world. This is a very symbolic holiday and many traditions and customs are associated with Navruz.
In Uzbekistan Navruz is a state holiday. On February 28, 2017, the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a decree “On the preparation and conduct of the national holiday Navruz in 2017”. It says that during the Navruz days a person feels his inseparable connection with nature and his native land, appreciates her generous gifts even more and gets a feeling of gratitude for the present peaceful days. It is also stressed that Navruz is permeated with the spirit and philosophy of kindness, mercy, friendship and harmony, aimed at showing full attention and concern for the representatives of the older generation, rendering unselfish help to all those in need of support people.
The main dish of cuisine among the customs of the celebration of Navruz in Uzbekistan is New Year’s feast “sumalak” – a dish cooked on a wood fire from flour and sprouted wheat grains, sometimes with the addition of spices. Sprouted grain symbolizes life, warmth, abundance and health. On this day, the housewives fry special pies with greens, prepare “nishalda” – a sweet dessert of egg whipped with sugar and fragrant roots of herbs, bake “samsa”, cook delicious “pilaf”. The table on this day is bursting with goodies.
Uzbekistan, with the arrival of Spring, is changing in colors, air, fragrance, spirit and joy. The country becomes even more beautiful, which makes an unforgettable impression. As a tradition, all people gather together to bring clearness to their streets and parks, small creeks and ponds, stadiums and bazaars. These good traditions unite people, help to strengthen the atmosphere of peace and harmony in society, generosity and creation.
The humanistic spirit and unfading values of Navruz are carefully passed from generation to generation. As it was a millennium ago, customs and traditions associated with it still play an important role in Uzbekistan. The people of the Republic, possessing such unique qualities as diligence, hospitality, mercy, living with good intentions and hopes, builds its relations with all countries on the basis of mutual respect, friendship and cooperation. In Uzbekistan peace and tranquility, interethnic harmony is recognized as the highest value and in the society there is an atmosphere of kindness, joy and happiness.
For Malaysian readers, to understand the essence of this holiday, it should be noted that this Spring celebration comes in the first month of Spring, after 5-7 mouth of cold Autumn and Winter. Meteorological observations have established that in some years the low temperatures were reaching -40°C. For this reason, the arrival of Spring, solar heat, the appearance of greenery, the blossoming of numerous flowers, is itself a holiday. Many nations have separate episodes of the celebration of Spring’s arrival. In the USA it is “Cherry Blossom”, Japan – “Sakura Blossom” and etc.
However, peoples who celebrate Navruz rejoice at the whole palette associated with the arrival not only of the New Year in the Solar Calendar, but also the renewal created by the Almighty a world, where man is only a small part of it.
Using this opportunity, I would like to wish happiness, success, prosperity and all the best to every citizen of Uzbekistan, as well as further economic growth, development and prosperity of the Republic, peace and tranquility in the country and every home.
by Dato’ Mohd Yusof Othman,
Director of Institute of Islam Hadhari, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia