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Common Cultural Values Stressed in Caspian Sea Festival

Performance of eastern traditional music fascinated the audiences in the second day of the festival of Caspian Sea Common Cultural Heritage currently held in Iran.
Sari, 17 April 2006_Soudabeh Sadigh (CHN) -- The second day of the First International Festival of Common Cultural Heritage of Caspian Sea Littoral States and Central Asia was held yesterday with performance of traditional music by artists of the regional countries which resulted in creating a spiritual atmosphere in the ceremony hall.

During the opening ceremony which was held in the city of Sari, capital of Mazandaran province, some traditional music performance was held by a famous Iranian group named "Khorshid Group" (Sun Group) under the supervision of Majid Derakhshan, the young Iranian musician.

Music performance and screening documentary movies about Norouz were the main programs of the second day of the festival. The second day which coincided with the birthday of holly Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) continued with the spectacular performance of different groups of artists from Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, and also Mazandaran and Khorassan provinces from Iran who played Maghami style of music accompanied by Norouz citing.

Maghami is an ancient music style played with different instruments. In some regions, Maghami music is connected to the religious thought of the people, in others it describes their work or narrates historical events. In some other parts, it focuses on children’s music such as lullabies. This style of music creates a very spiritual feeling for the audience.

The purpose of holding such artistic and cultural programs during the festival is to show cultural similarities among the nations of the Caspian Sea and Central Asian countries. In addition to performing traditional music and movie screening, some photo exhibitions have been established to visually display these cultural similarities. During the opening day of the festival the exhibition of Iranian and the Caspian Sea regional countries was inaugurated in Kolbadi historical house in Sari. Besides, a permanent exhibition of Iranian handicrafts has been established in the cultural and artistic complex of Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in Mazandaran province for the visit of participants.

Another purpose for holding this festival is to bring the ethnical groups of the Caspian Sea regional countries together and give them the chance to share their common cultural heritage values. Iran was a pioneer in this respect and from now on, the festival is going to be held in neighboring countries every year. This festival will also pave the way for registering Norouz ceremony in the list of UNESCO's intangible heritage. "The registration of Norouz in the list of UNESCO's intangible heritage was rejected due to the incomprehensiveness of the file, now the countries who share this traditional and historical ceremony of Persian New Year are collaborating with each other and doing their best to inscribe the Norouz file in UNESCO's intangible heritage List. We hope holding of such a festival will pave the way for further cooperation among the neighboring countries," said Mohammad Tavakol, secretary general of Iran's national committee in UNESCO who is also the representative of foreign guests in this festival.

"Iran is the motivator of cultural coordination in the region. It is Iran which brings together the regional countries with common culture, tradition and beliefs to preserve and maintain their shared values. Iran is not only geographically close to the Central Asian countries, it has also transferred its rich culture to these countries. The Caspian Sea regional countries have a lot in common in terms of their cultural values which have a root in the original Persian culture. We have screened two movies in Kazakhstan, one of them named "The Sea should Connect Us, Not Separate Us", to stress the importance of establishing bonds among Caspian Sea regional countries. Holding such a festival will assist us in achieving this goal," said M. Auezov, cultural advisor to the President of Kazakhstan.

The First International Festival of Common Heritage of Caspian Sea regional countries and Central Asia is being held in Iran from 15 to 19 of April 2006 in the northern cities of Sari, Babol, and Ramsar with the participation of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Afghanistan. Having a special focus on Norouz (Persian New Year ceremony) Caspian Sea regional countries discuss their common culture while special artistic and cultural performance has been planed during this festival.

The International Festival of Common Heritage will continued today by holding a scientific seminar in the city of Sari about the common cultural heritage of the regional countries with participation of scholars and intellectuals of different countries. "Norouz" and "History & Culture" will be the topics discussed in this seminar during which speakers from Iran and neighboring countries will deliver their lectures. 

“Norouz Festival Brings Together Caspian Sea Countries”
“Programs of Common Cultural Festival Announced”
“Caspian Sea Neighbors to Study Norouz”
“The Festival of Common Heritage Started in Iran”

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