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Noruz in Kyrgyzstan, India, China and among Turks

Noruz in Kyrgyzstan

Tehran, March 19, IRNA -- Kyrgyzstan, is one of the Central Asian republics and has a population of five million an area of 200,000 square kilometers.

It's official language is Kyrgyz and its script is Krill, but Russian language is used in official letter-writing and spoken in seminars.

The Kyrgyz make up 15 percent of Kyrgyzstan and the rest is made up f Russians, Kazakhs, Tajiks, Chinese, Koreans, and Azeris as well as Iranians.

With the exception of Iranians and Tajiks who are native speakers of the Persian language, Uzbeks and some of Uzbekistan neighbors are also familiar with the language.

Bishkek, as with other central Asian Republics, holds its own special ceremony at the beginning of each new year, that is Noruz. Territories previously known as Trans-Oceania now are known as the Central Asian republics.

Due to this geographical situation, Central Asia has always had a vital role in world civilization and global political events.

As recorded in history, Central Asia was one of the first regions inhabited by Aryans.

Historical commonalties have tied the mind and spirit of every Iranian to the region.

These newly-independent Muslim countries are in search of a new identity and a new system based on new values. They have been influenced by different Turkish, Iranian, Arabic and Islamic cultures.

Their practice of holding the annual Iranian Noruz celebration and proclamation of the first day of Farvardin (March 21) as an official holiday is reminiscent of such cultural influence.

During the last few years it has been the custom in Kyrgyzstan to hold the ceremony of Noruz in Lenin Square in Bishkek.

Governmental organizations decorate the streets around Lenin Square with multicolored flags.

It is worth saying that all Central Asian republics call this Noruz celebration `Eid'. Noruz, which is a national and religious Eid, is ticked off with an old man and an old woman facing the president, officials and ambassadors of Kyrgyzstan. As the customary Noruz song is being sang, 40 female students sit at the corner of the square with a white cloth over their heads to symbolize the presence of snow.

After the song is sang another group of 40 female students remove the white clothe and the old man and woman make the announcement that winter is gone and spring has come.

Flowers are scattered all over the snow. Then a man symbolically tills the earth with a cow. The act symbolizes the activities related to cultivating and growing plans and animals.

The ceremony is followed by a group of horse-riding men and women, who perform artistic plays.

This is followed by art lovers from various countries congratulating each other on the arrival of the new year in the presence of people gathered around the square.

There are various kinds of food and sweets offered for sale on tables spread out across Moscow Street which is temporarily converted into an 'Id-e Bazaar' for the occasion.

At lunch time families, besides peddlers, sit on the grass and take their lunch as if they are in a mood to hold all the ceremonies including Sizdebedar in one day.

Noruz celebration was forgotten during the rule of the communists.

Since the Central Asian republics gained independence in 1991 the ceremonies are observed annually.

There is no fixed time or moment when the new year is supposed to begin.

No one prepares the "Haftseen." There is no customary exchange of visits.

Tables filled with candies and dried nuts are not customary during Kyrgyzstan's Noruz celebration which lasts from dawn to dust.

In the cities the ceremonies are initiated by Kyrgyz government and in villages by the elders.

The pace of celebration is customarily the wides square, in cities, and the surrounding deserts in villages.

Most Kyrgyz families come out of their houses from the early hours in the morning and gather in predetermined places. Some villages sponsor cooking contest.

Some elders stop by houses, taste their food and award a prize to the person who has cooked the most delicious foods.

Sports competitions are also held during Noruz in sports clubs.

Noruz in India

Tehran, March 19, IRNA - The Festival of Spring is celebrated every year in March in Iran, India and other regions where Aryans have settled down during the process of their westward migration from the to East, gaining control over most northern parts of India.

That was after pushing the native Dravidians to far South into the current South Indian states, including Kerala and Tamilnadu.

In Iran, Noruz celebrations start on March 21, marking the beginning of the new Iranian year whereas `Holi', the festival of spring in India, beings on March 4, They had lots of shared characteristics originally, but underwent drastic changes with the passage of time.

Like the Zoroastrians of Iran, the Indian Aryans, or Hindus, as they are known today, too, worship fire. Holi, or the festival of Spring is also celebrated by them by setting on fire huge wooden logs which burn for days. They also sprinkle water and spray bright colored powders and liquids on each other to signify the blosoming of pretty colorful flowers that bolsom in Spring.

The Indian Aryans languages, too, is the language of Avesta, an ancient Iranian prophet. But Sanskrit is still spoken and Avestan language has been transformed into modern Persian after the glorious advent of Islam and when the Idians embraced this celestail gift.

However, Ferdowsi, the great Iranian linguist, poet and composer of Shahnama (Book of the Kings), one of the greatest masterpieces of the Persian language, tried to revive the old and significant characteristics of this sweet language.

Although Holi, the festival of spring, is celebrated all over India, the nature of festivities vary from state to state according to the local beliefs and traditions.

In Muslim dominated Kashmir, for instance, the people celebrate Noruz rather than Holi and it is rather considered a religious festivity.

In most other parts of India though, Holi is celebrated and fire is worshipped and kepr aflame for several days and in certain places for many weeks.

In the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, the Holi festivities are celebrated wholeheartedly and with greatest fervor. The people sing and dance around fire all night long and spray colored water on each other during the days.

The Holi celebrations are held in certain places for as long as a month.

In In the city of Shahjahanpour, in Uttar Pradesh State, the Holi festivities are marked by a staging a vaast scale exhibition and arranging for a carnival at which the people participate along with all their familie members from far flung areas and enjoy day and night, while buying lots of souveneers and handicrafts.

The Holi Festival has romantic characteristics too, and thus young girls and boys are more enthusiastic about celebrating it by spraing colorful liquids and spriking colored powders on each other.

Spring Festival in China

Tehran, March 19, IRNA -- -The Spring Festival is the most important traditional festival with the longest history, the grandest occasion for all Chinese nationalities. All the Chinese officially have three days' holiday.

It marks the beginning of the lunar year (The date varies from year to year from the later half of January to the first half of February), hence it is also called "Nian Jie" or the Year Festival.

The Spring Festival falls in winter, an agricultural slack season at which people have more time to engage in various social activities. Two weeks before the festival, every household is busy with preparations for the festival. Shops are decorated with lanterns and colorful streamers. Streets are lined with vendors' stalls one after another.

People joyously bustle about with the Spring Festival shopping, such as firecrackers for kids ... The whole nation is full of festive atmosphere. For thousands of years numerous customs have been connected with the Spring Festival, such as cleaning the house, sticking New Year pictures, pasting Spring Festival couplets on the gate posts or door panels before the Spring Festival, staying up late or all night on the eve of the Spring Festival, family get-together supper characterized by large meals and display of fireworks, paying New Year calls, enjoying Chinese dumplings, lion dances, dragon dances and stilt-walking, visiting flower markets and so on and so forth.

The highlight of the activities before the New Year concentrates n the Eve of the Spring Festival. Every household will post Spring Festival couplets on gate posts (the Spring Festival couplets were originated from `Taofu", peach wood charms against evil, hung on the gate on the lunar New Year's Eve in ancient times, dating back to the spring and autumn period more than 2000 years ago). It is the custom for people to stay up late and set off firecrackers at midnight. The members of the family used to get together to offer sacrifices to the ancestors, family members of the younger generation kowtowed to their elders to celebrate the lunar New Year's Eve while the elders were supposed to give children money as a New Year gift. hen the whole family ate dumplings stuffed with meat (Jiaozi). New Year Cake (Niango, made of rice flour) or round sweet dumplings made of glutinous rice flour together. However, the old customs are dying off.

Instead, TV stations produce all sorts of the Spring Festival Eve entertainment and the whole family sits in front of the TV set enjoying its programs. When the clock strikes 12 at midnight, hundreds of firecrackers are set off and fireworks displayed in the sky, ushering in the lunar New Year.

People use three days of the holiday to visit relatives and friends and exchange New Year's greetings. Besides there are many entertainments with local features held all over the country. Take Beijing for an example, Temple Fair held at the last Spring Festival offered both cultural activities and foodstuff, special commodities for the Spring Festival, and various knicknacks.

The Flour Fair at Longtan is a place for people to appreciate various old performing arts including the lion dance, the trotting donkey, the boat dance and stilt walking. The Grand Viw Garden, a reproduction of the one in the famous Chinese classical work "The Dream of the Red Mansion" presented the Spring Festival entertainment. With Hearty laughter and throngs of visitors the whole garden is full of festive air.

Noruz among Turks

Tehran, March 19, IRNA -- From time immemorial to the present day, the Turks and Iranians have lived together with good neighborly relations and got along very well where they have differed.

Within the limits of their communications, they have attained the completion and evolution of numerous common cultural elements. One of the most significant cultural elements of this sort, is Noruz, being our topic of discussion.

The Persian 'Noruz' means 'New Day'. It is the first day of the solar year on the Iranian calendar. In the Roman calender, it falls on the 9th of March, and on the Christian calender it falls on the March 21 (or March 20). The Turks still, based on the Roman calender, celebrate the 9th of March.

Meanwhile, there is the trace of Norouz in the Arab sources. Noruz as the commencement of the new year, is traced back to a far-fetched history. For the very first time in Iran, during the rein of Jamshid its evolution took place. Later, within the dynasty of Achaemenids and Sassanids, it continued with more developed and immense traditions, in a larger scale, while with the advent of Islam, it found its place in the grand Eids of Iranians.

Prior to the advent of Islam, at the time of Zoroastrians, being the official religion of Iran, Noruz held a significant place. In the contemporary era, still within the Zoroastrians of Iran and India, this celebration is held as the life celebration (YASAN). On this day, the angel guards of ghosts, and the dead are prayed for, while several ceremonies take place. Within the Noruz Eid, the Parsees shake hands with their right, while exchanging hearty words. Noruz tradition has stretched to the Middle east and the Balkan peninsula, and is celebrated within the Turks of these regions. On the other hand, the majority of Arab countries, headed by Egypt and Iraq, have given significance to Noruz among their Eids. Among several names like Vavriz, Noruz, Nevrus, Cagan and Bozkurt, they have celebrated this Eid from way back in history. They had accepted the Eid as the Eid of nature, creation, resumption of life, as well as the sign of the new year's start.

The acceptance of this day as the starting mark of the new year was specified in the calender of which Nezammolmolk, the minister of Jalaleddin Malekshah had prepared and had accepted as the starting mark of the new year among the Turk governments. Within the Turk kings and among their traditions, Noruz was recognized, while in their celebrations the king and the officials exchanged gifts, marking it into a tradition. The tradition of exchanging gifts was mainstream prior to the Otoman dynasty. Meanwhile, we will become informed of this custom amid the related story of the attempted assassination of Erkus, one of the ministers of Sultan Sanjar.

Planning to render two Arab horses to the Sultan on Noruz, Erkus was killed with the stabling of two supporters of Islamism. The ceremonies of rendering gifts continued within a greater extent during the Ottoman dynasty.

At the time of Noruz, the commanders would present gifts to then chancellor and ministers as the gifts of Noruz. Meanwhile, the officials of the imperial court led by the chancellor would also present gifts to the king. Among these gifts, the horses ornamented with jewels, arms and rare garments were present. Also in this day the astronomer would present his made calender, for which the king would render gifts to him. Also, amid the Nourouz ceremonies of the Ottomans, several banquets were arranged. On the 22nd of March, the commander of the forces would serve a banquet to the ministers. Among the food, a sweet mixture made out of various spices were prepared, being served to the guests. This Noruzi mixture was of special importance in the ceremonies.

In the imperial court, the doctor would add various other things like perfume, placing it in the covered crystal places. At the very start of the night, he would take it to the Sultan. This mixture was served to the women of Hareem, the ministers and grand figures.

The common belief was that the mixture served as a source of energy and health. This ceremony went on till the termination of Ottoman dynasty.

Meanwhile, commoners would also eat cookies on this day. The belief was that if someone taste the Noruzi mixtures, ailments would not power in till the end of the year.

Even, within the first year of the establishment of the republic, Noruz with its several ceremonies were celebrated as an Eid.

Amid ceremonies held in Ankara in 1925, for the commemoration of Noruz in the presence of the officials, rows of the military holding flags of red and blue, marched. In this year, Noruz was recognized as the marking start of the new year, however, in the financial and calculation message, Noruz was still marking start of the financial year.

Noruz is celebrated among various people of the world. on this day, they go to the lands, playing sports and games. As well as olding parties, rendering presents and playing on Noruz, singing Noruzi poems were also customary. The poets would make poems were also customary. The poets would make poems admiring kings and other prominent figures. The source of these poems can be found in the Persian literature. On the verge of Noruz, the poet would sing poems for the kings and figures while presenting their needs within them. In the Persian archaic literatures, specially in the period of Parisis, making poems and rendering to the kings were a part of tradition.

... Payvand News - 3/20/01 ... --

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