Happy Novruz!

A Cherry Tree by Benjamin Gimmel

Novruz (also Nowrouz, Nowruz, Nooruz, Navruz, Nauroz or Nevruz; originally means "New Day" in Persian) is the New Year festivity according to astronomical calendar widely celebrated by Iranian and Turkic peoples. Novruz takes its origin from the ancient Iran where people celebrated this day as the beginning of new spring and New Year. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs on March 21st.

In 2012 Novruz falls on the 20th of March. World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” heartily congratulates everyone who celebrates this ancient festivity.

"Novruz... marks the New Year and the beginning of spring across a vast geographical area covering, inter alia, Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan. It is celebrated on 21 March every year, a date originally determined by astronomical calculations. Novruz is associated with various local traditions, such as the evocation of Jamshid, a mythological king of Iran, and numerous tales and legends. The rites that accompany the festivity vary from place to place, ranging from leaping over fires and streams in Iran to tightrope walking, leaving lit candles at house doors, traditional games such as horse racing or the traditional wrestling practised in Kyrgyzstan. Songs and dances are common to almost all the regions, as are semi-sacred family or public meals.Children are the primary beneficiaries of the festivities and take part in a number of activities, such as decorating hard-boiled eggs. Women play a key role in organizing Novruz and passing on its traditions. Novruz promotes the values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families, as well as reconciliation and neighbourliness, thus contributing to cultural diversity and friendship among peoples and various communities" (from: http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/en/RL/00282).

Nowadays Novruz is the internationally recognized festivity. The UN's General Assembly in 2010 recognized the International Day of Nowruz. During the meeting of The Inter-governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage of the United Nations, held between 28 September – 2 October 2009 in Abu Dhabi, Nowruz was officially registered on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.