Navrouz – A Magical Spring Fete
The celebration of Navrouz has been brought to the Central Asia since the Zoreastrian epoch. This celebration is known as “Spring New Year”. The translation of “Navrouz” from Persian means “new day”. People celebrate it in hope for better days in their lives, leave the past in the past and open a new page of life for positive thoughts and energy.
Regions and border areas of Persia have been celebrating this New Year more than 2,500 years. Some sources indicate that Navrouz has been celebrating perhaps within 5,000 years. This ancient fete can be compared to Christmas in western countries as in Persian calendar the 21st of March is marked as the first day of a new year.
In the past people believed that magical things happened on the day of Navrouz and also that powers of light had overcome the darkness. The 21st of March itself is a unique day as daylight and nighttime hours become to be equal. It is the time when seasonal changes begin and days become longer afterwards. People also believe that Spring New Year brings, along with renewal of the nature, a blooming in flora and a new cycle of the nascence in fauna.
Nowadays celebrations of Navrouz start from the 19th of March and ends on the 21st of March. People traditionally celebrate Navrouz together with their families, invite relatives and friends to be their guests, make presents to each other. Moreover, during the period of Navrouz there is a special celebration called ‘Muchal Tuyi’. Muchal Tuyi is celebrated every 12 years of a person`s age throughout of his or her life. A big party is organized for relatives and friends, all the participants wear white and cheerful clothes. Muchal Tuyi can be compared to the birthday party but it is only celebrated every 12 years.
There is a special traditional dish called ‘Haft Miz’ made to celebrate Navrouz. In translation from Persian ‘Haft Miz’ means “seven dishes”. Seven types of different types of sweets or food stuff should be served on the one tray, the names of these sweets and food stuff should begin from ‘S’ letter.
Uzbekistan has its own ancient traditions to celebrate Navrouz. In big cities and country sides people celebrate this holiday in the way of organizing music and dance festivals, fruit and vegetable bazaars, horseracing and cockfighting. There is a special uzbek dish called Sumalayk which is made while Navrouz celebration. Sumalyak is a kind of a desert, it looks like molasses flavored cream and has a sweet taste. Sumalyak is made from flour and sprouted wheat grains. It is tenderly cooked in a large cooking pot on the low wood fire. During its cooking people time-to-time blend Sumalyak slowly with huge wood stick and whisper their wishes. As the legend goes, while Sumalayak is being cooked, angels and fairies surround and support you, you can make a wish and your wish will definitely come true.
There are other dishes of uzbek cuisine traditionally made at Navrouz time, for example, ‘Pilov’and ‘Kuk Samosa’(small pies filled with spring greens and young sprouts). The ‘dastarkhan’, meaning “served table” in uzbek, should be served as reach as possible during Navrouz celebrating. There is another popular belief that goes if your Navrouz dastarkhan is reach and plenty of different dishes than it will also remain hearty and full of food during the whole new year.
The next warmest celebration of Navrouz is coming soon. Citizens of Uzbekistan and other Eurasian countries are waiting for this big holiday. May this Spring New Year bring to all of us peace, wellbeing and joy, fill our houses with happiness and light and our hearts with positive wishes, thoughts and energy!