Nowruz نوروز meaning ‘New Day’ is the traditional new year ceremony in Afghanistan and countries in Central Asia. In Persian or Dari, ‘now نو’ means new and ‘ruz روز’ means day. In Pashto language it is pronounced as نوورځ – “Naw-Wraz” (New Day). This day March 21 is recognized by The United Nations General Assembly as the “International Day of Nowruz”.
It’s is the first day of Spring also referred to Persian new year ceremony and here are 5 things that Afghan People all over the world do to celebrate Nowruz.
1- Haft Mēwa
In Afghanistan, people prepare Haft Mēwa (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, Pistachio, Hazelnut, Prune, Walnut and whether Almond or another species of Plum fruit.
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.
3- Special cuisines
People cook special types of dishes for Nowruz, especially on the eve of Nowruz. 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 Nowruzī, which is only baked for Nowruz. Another dish which is prepared mostly for the Nowruz 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 fiancé’s family give presents to or prepare special dishes for the fiancée’s family on special occasions such as in the two Eids (Eid ul-Fitr and Eid al-Adha), Barā’at and in Nowruz. Hence, the special dish for Nowruz is Māhī wa Jelabī.
4- Sightseeing to Cercis fields
The citizens of Kabul go to Istalif, Charikar or other green places around where the Cercis flowers grow. They go for picnic with their families during the first 2 weeks of New Year.
5- 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.