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International festival of "Navruz" - a vivid example of intercultural dialogue

"Navruz" is one of the greatest celebrations of all mankind, which has a 5000-year history. It is gratifying that the 64th General Conference of the United Nations February 19, 2010, by the initiative of several countries, including the Republic of Tajikistan, UN has adopted a resolution which declared Navruz as "International Holiday of all nations". September 30, 2009, at the initiative of the countries that have ratified the Convention of Intangible Cultural Heritage, along with 76 objects "Navruz" was included into the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the World. Special resolution was adopted to preserve and celebrate the international holiday Navruz.

In 2010, Tajikistan has ratified the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (October 17, 2003, Paris). These resolutions and the convention give us the opportunity today to celebrate Navruz not only in its own country alone, but also around the world. A striking example is the Navruz 2012, which will be celebrated in Tajikistan at a high level.

Navruz – the universal festival of the people of the whole World, holiday goodness and light, the holiday of hope, fertility, harmony and peace. Navruz is associated with new plans of better life, creativity and prosperity in every single house.

Based on its features and significance, Navruz strongly promotes the cultivation of respect among representatives of all ages, generations and social strata, provides mutual respect and tolerance.

It is no secret that the common traditions have always rallied the people together. These people in relation to each other gradually form a kind of brotherhood. And this opens a dialogue between people. All this leads to respect for cultural diversity and creativity of humanity.

The celebration of the glorious day of Navruz is the most revered tradition and unparalleled from a variety of beautiful festivals which came down to us from the depths of the centuries, customs and ceremonies of the Tajiks.

All regions and big cities of Central Asia had special places for the celebration of Navruz, where during the whole Khamal-Farvardin month (March 20 to April 20) men and women were separately arranging merriments along with songs, dancing and variety of games. The names of Festival were different - "Beginning of the Year", "New Year" etc. At these festivals such games were organized: gushti/kushti - freestyle wrestling, asptozi - horse racing, execution of national songs, dances, recitation – baytbarak or gulgardoni, the traditional doll performances, traditional games aspakbozi - playing with dolls horses, charkhofalak - people form a circle, then sing and dance on stage, kabkjang - partridgefighting, bedonajang - quailfighting, khurusjang - cockfighting, qushqorjang - sheepfighting. This festival, first of all, symbolizes the awakening of nature, bloom and the youth of the world and people. This is also the victory of light over darkness, warmth over cold, good over evil, purity over filth and humanity over brutality.

Official status has been given to Navruz in modern Tajikistan. It is officially day-off during Navruz Festival.

Navruz warms home atmosphere, because everything happened during the last year is interpreting: success and loss. New schedule is being obtained for next year. Youth is getting direction promoting universal moral standards. Navruz is a good stimulus to awaken the power of spirit, therefore it plays an important role in educating the younger generation, which has recently been given special attention.

Navruz is accompanied by special refreshments mainly consisting of vegetable food. A special place belongs to the wheat, which is prepared in advance. From sprouted wheat meal named "Sumanak" is preparing. This is a sweet concoction of sprouted wheat, the main attribute of the celebration of Navruz, which is in all ways a symbol of Navruz. Note, that Sumanak never prepared alone. Navruz meals – "oshi navruzi" (meal from rice, carrot and meat); "oshi burida" or "oshi ugro" - special noodles, enriched by cereals and dressed abundantly by vegetables and sour milk; "otalai navruzi" – liquid dish with lots of spices; kochi - milk porridge; "sambusai alafi" - pastry stuffed with spring greens species; bechak (pastry), different types of bread: "Fatir", "kulcha", "chapoti", "girdacha" and many others.

The uniqueness and originality of customs, traditions and attributes of Navruz, which have been preserved, survived and reached our days, become objects of attention of governmental and non-governmental organizations. UNESCO is the body that strongly contributes to the preservation and dissemination of Navruz as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Following the principles and ideals of UNESCO - Intercultural dialogue through science, culture and education, we, in turn, encourage to promote international festival of Navruz, and to develop common measures for its preservation.

Happy International Day of Navruz, dear fellow citizens and guests of Tajikistan!


National Commission of the Republic of Tajikistan for UNESCO






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