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DATE PUBLISHED: 2018/3/21 - 14:40:14
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Nowruz in Afghanistan

Nowruz is celebrated widely in Afghanistan. Also known as Farmerís Day, the observances usually last two weeks, culminating on the first day of the Afghan New Year, March 21.[1] During the Taliban rule (1996–2001), Nowruz was banned and considered an "ancient pagan holiday centered on fire worship".[2] Preparations for Nowroz start several days beforehand, at least after Chaharshanbe Suri, the last Wednesday before the New Year. Among various traditions and customs, the most important ones are as following:

  • Guli Surkh festival (Persian: „ŪŠŚ‌ž źŠ ”—ő): The Guli Surkh festival which literally means Red Flower Festival (referring to the red Tulipflowers) is the principal festival for Nowroz. It is celebrated in Mazar-e Sharif during the first 40 days of the year when the Tulip flowers grow in the green plains and over the hills surrounding the city. People from all over the country travel to Mazari Sharif to attend the Nawroz festivals. Various activities and customs are performed during the Guli Surkh festival, including the Jahenda Bala event and Buzkashi games.
  • Jahenda Bālā (Persian: ŐŚšŌŚ »«Š«; old Persian Zoroastrian term Zendor Zand Persian: éšŌ ):[3] Jahenda Bala is celebrated on the first day of the New Year (i.e. Nawroz), and is attended by high-ranking government officials such as the Vice-President, Ministers, and Provincial Governors. It is a specific religious ceremony performed in the Blue Mosque of Mazar that is believed (mostly by Sunnite Afghans) to be the site of the tomb of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the fourth caliph of Islam. The ceremony is performed by raising a special banner whose color configuration resembles Derafsh Kaviani. This is the biggest recorded Nowroz gathering where up to 200,000 people from all over Afghanistan get together in Mazar central park around blue mosque to celebrate the banner raising (Jahenda Bālā ) ceremony.
  • Buzkashi: Along with other customs and celebrations, normally a Buzkashi tournament is held during the Guli Surkh festival in Mazaris Sharif, Kabul and other northern cities of Afghanistan.
  • Haft Mēwa (Persian: Ś›  „یśŚ): In Afghanistan, people prepare Haft Mēwa (literally translates as Seven Fruits) instead of Haft Sin which is common in Iran. Haft Mewa is like a Fruit salad made from 7 different Dried fruits, served in their own syrup. The 7 dried fruits are: Raisin, Senjed (the dried fruit of the oleaster tree), Pistachio, Hazelnut, Prune (dry fruit of Apricot), Walnut and whether Almond or another species of Plum fruit.
  • Samanak: It is a special type of sweet dish made from germinated wheat, and is normally cooked or prepared on the eve of Nowruz or a few days before the Nawroz. Women take a special party for it during the night, and cook it from late in the evening till the daylight, singing a special song: Samanak dar Josh o mā Kafcha zanem – Dochtaran* dar Khwāb o mā Dafcha zanem (* Dochter mains 1 daughter 2 young Lady or girl)
  • Special cuisines: People cook special types of dishes for Nowroz, especially on the eve of Nowroz. Normally they cook Sabzi Chalaw, a dish made from rice and spinach, separately. Moreover, the bakeries prepare a special type of cookie, called Kulcha-e Nowrozī, which is only baked for Nowruz. Another dish which is prepared mostly for the Nowroz days is Māhī wa Jelabī (Fried Fish and Jelabi) and it is the most often meal in picnics. In Afghanistan, it is a common custom among the affianced families that the fiancéís family give presents to or prepare special dishes for the fiancéeís family on special occasions such as in the two Eids (Eid ul-Fitr and Eid al-Adha), Barāíat and in Nowroz. Hence, the special dish for Nowroz is Māhī wa Jelabī.
  • Sightseeing to Cercis fields: The citizens of Kabul go to Istalif, Charikar or other green places around where the Cercisflowers grow. They go for picnic with their families during the first 2 weeks of New Year.
  • Jashn-e Dehqān: Jashn-e Dehqan means The Festival of Farmers. It is celebrated in the first day of year, in which the farmers walk in the cities as a sign of encouragement for the agricultural productions. In recent years, this activity is being performed only in Kabul and other major cities, in which the mayor and other high governmental personalities participate for watching and observing.
  • Kampirak: Like "Haji Nowruz" in Iran, he is an old bearded man wearing colorful clothes with a long hat and rosary who symbolizes beneficence and the power of nature yielding the forces of winter. He and his retinue pass village by village distributing gathered charities among people and do his shows like reciting poems. The tradition is observed in central provinces specially Bamyan and Daykundi.[4]

References

  1.  Lt. j.g. Keith Goodsell (March 7, 2011). "Key Afghan, US leadership plant trees for Farmerís Day". United States Central Command. Retrieved 2012-12-03.
  2.  "USembassy-Israel.org". USembassy-Israel.org. 2002-03-20. Retrieved 2010-04-06.
  3.  Malthe Conrad Bruun, Universal geography, or A description of all the parts of the world, Vol. II., London 1822, Pg 282
  4.  Arvin, Ayub. "šś—ś“ ś ć«Š‘‌Ś«ی ”ی«”ی ś „–Ś»ی Ō— «›Ř«š” «š". London: BBC Persian. Retrieved 2010-03-23.

 

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