By Ali Kushki

Envoy talks about Noruz in Tajikistan

March 30, 2017 - 16:20

TEHRAN – While New Year's Day in Tajikistan has been celebrated on January 1 nearly for the past hundred years, similar to other countries which secured independence from the Soviet Union, still Noruz has a matchless status throughout the history of Tajikistan.

So, this is natural that the Tajik people have preserved and cherished the festivity as a highly regarded national one although it was once branded as an “unfavorable reactionary phenomenon” by the rulers of the time during the Soviet era, Tajik Ambassador to Iran Nematullo Emomzoda tells the Tehran Times in an exclusive interview.

Noruz begins on the first day of spring and is marked internationally by the United Nations March 21.  

International Noruz Day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/64/253 of 2010, at the initiative of several countries that share this holiday (Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan).

In what follows, Mr. Emomzoda has spoken about different customs practiced by the Tajik people during Noruz, when a variety of rituals, ceremonies and other cultural events take place for a period of about two weeks.

Picking flowers

One tradition that has survived in Tajikistan is the gathering of wild flowers by children. They do this one week before Noruz to herald the arrival of the spring. Previously, grown-ups used to observe the ritual but now children and youths will do that.

They pick two types of wild flowers, Siah Goush and Bahman, and distribute them among villagers, marking the passing of winter and arrival of spring.

Jumping fire

The Tajik people also perform a similar version of Iranians’ Chaharshanbe Suri (on the eve of the last Wednesday of the Persian year as Iranians gather together to light bonfires in the streets and jump over the flames shouting: "Zardie man az to, sorkhie to az man", meaning: "May my sickly pallor be yours and your red glow be mine.").

While we shout the same words, we observe the fire play, called Atash Parak (jumping fire) on the eve of the first day of the New Year.

With this phrase, the flames symbolically take away all the unpleasant things that took place in the past year.

Khaneh Tekani (house cleaning)

In Tajikistan, Noruz starts with house cleaning. Women and girls remove pillows and carpets and other things and put them outdoors for a good airing in the hope that the Noruz sun changes the aura. They also jettison broken vases and plates and fill cauldrons and pots with rain water, what they believe brings good omen and increases sustenance year-round.  

Outdoor festivals

Since recognizing Noruz as a national festival, the Tajik people hold celebrations in resort areas. In large cities like Dushanbe and Khujand, outdoor festivals are held in sport stadiums. Annually, Noruz is celebrated in one of the provinces of the country in presence of Tajik president with his message delivered to the nation. Also, during the ceremonies impressive concerts are staged and games such as wrestling, chess, and tug of war are played. Exhibitions showcasing local handicrafts are also common.

In the end, I would like to congratulate Noruz on all Iranians and your colleagues at the Tehran Times and wish you a healthy, prosperous year.

AK/PA

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