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Navruz is a Festival of Spring and Renovation

Navruz is one of the brightest and colorful holidays that have come to us from the depths of the centuries

 

and today is our favorite, the lightest and most joyful holiday of the long-awaited beauty - Spring!

There are a lot of mentions of this ancient holiday in the writings of scientists, historians and poets of bygone centuries. Mahmud Kashgari, Hakim Termezi, Alisher Navoi, Ogahi, Omar Khayyam wrote about it. About Navruz traditions we read in the immortal book of Abu Rayhon Beruni "Monuments of Ancient Peoples". It is here that says about the origin of Navruz during the reign of the legendary King Jamshid. And, as a great holiday, Navruz was celebrated back in those distant times when the old parts of the sacred book of Zoroastrianism - "Avesta" were composed, which was recorded several centuries later. This information carries us to such a long time, to speak of which can be based on both historical information and the legends associated with this period.

In the III millennium BC, to the east of Volga, in the South-Russian steppes, people lived there who were called the proto-Indo-Iranians by historians. These people led a semi-nomadic way of life, had small settlements and were grazing cattle. It consisted of two social groups: priests and shepherd warriors. According to many scholars, it was to the 3rd millennium BC, in the Bronze Age, that the proto-Indo-Iranians split into two Indo-Aryan and Iranian people, differing in language, although the main occupation was still cattle breeding and trade with a sedentary population living to the south of them. During centuries-old migrations, in the 1st millennium BC the ancient Iranian tribes have settled in Central Asia (Khorezm, Bactria, Sogd), and then the current Iran and Afghanistan. By this time, 12-10 centuries BC, the composition of old parts of the sacred "Avesta" is attributed, where King Jamshid from Pishdadid’s - the first legendary dynasty of Iran rulers is mentioned under the name of Yim, as the creator of the benefits of civilization, the organizer of the social society organization, the Lord of the world, whose thousand-year reign is called the "golden age".

There were no illnesses, old age, death, moral vices. Firdousi writes about King Jamshid in his epic "Shahname" composition. We can read about Navrus in Beruni’s composition: "The reasons for the name of Navruz for this day, is that when Jamshid became a king, he introduced a new religion and the day when it happened, he called Navruz (New Day)". Navruz means "a new day" in translation from Persian, or more precisely "the new day of the new year" and it falls on March 21, the day of the vernal equinox, when the spring finally enters into its rights and the revival of a new life: winter chill, buds in the trees, the warm rays of the sun awaken the earth, the first modest, but such lovely, spring flowers appear and a hope for a better future, well-being in the family, in the country, the generosity of nature and a rich harvest are born in the person's soul. From ancient times, the traditions of Navruz were associated with astronomical observations of farmers.

During Navruz, a large series of celebrations took place in memory of the deceased. A "sun bird" - a cock was sacrificed in Bukhara on the day of Navruz, in memory of treacherous murdered Siyavush, who personified the forces of an annually dying and resurrected nature.

Many rituals of Navruz are associated with the worship of the sun and fire, which in the beliefs of the Zoroastrians was considered as the foundation of the universe, part of the sun-light source. Each city and village had its own Fire Temples, where the sacred fire was kept. Temples of fire on the territory of Uzbekistan were discovered during archaeological excavations in many ancient sites, including Tashkent region at the site of the ancient settlement of Kanka, the capital of the once powerful state formation of Kanguy. Here, the ruins of the fundamental structure with a large hall were excavated, the walls of which were covered with polychrome paintings and relief moldings in the form of fiery red tongues of flame. It was possible to get into a small room, from the hall through a small door, where the sacred fire was stored, which was taken out to the hall during the big festive celebrations, including Navruz. Public meals were held on public holidays in the Fire Temples. One of the ceremonies of Navruz, in modern refreshment, preserved to this day.

The State Museum of History of Uzbekistan keeps a unique Sak’s bronze cauldron of the 4th century BC with alternating images of solar circles and goats that go along the rim of the goats. It is possible that ritual food was prepared during Navruz in such boilers. Sheep and goats were considered "solar" animals, connected in a mysterious way with the fructifying and life-giving force of the sun. The Farn-designation of the sun shining beginning, divine fire and divine grace is very often depicted in the form of a ram.

Here is how the ancient Greek chronicler Strabo described the celebration of Navruz: "In the most ancient, distant times and until today, the inhabitants of the Mesopotamia gathers on this day in the Temple of Fire. It is the most revered festival, when traders close their shops, artisans stop working. Everyone is having fun, treating each other with the drinks and foods that were touched by the fire". During the celebration, wars, quarrels ceased, strife was forgotten, and resentment was forgiven.

One of the remarkable symbols of Navruz is sprouted wheat, from which sumalak is prepared, the main spring dish of the holiday.

Sumalak is not just a dish, the preparation of which is a difficult laborious process; it is a special rite in which the residents of the mahalla and the court are participating. Men install a huge cauldron, prepare firewood, and women and girls under the guidance of the most skillful mistress cook sumalak all day and the whole night. 

Preparation of sumalak is pouring into merry gatherings with songs, dances, jokes. Sumalak demands sparkling fun, sounds of laughing around him, only then it turns out delicious and appetizing. And, when the sweet, cocoa-colored, fragrant mass rich in vitamins and amino acids, is very useful in the spring, it is poured into bowls and treated to neighbors and acquaintances in the district, remembering the eternal commandment of Navruz: do only good deeds, only say kind words, think only about the light. Navruz-halim is another special ritual dish. It is a special cereal made from peeled grains of wheat, meat and milk. Early greens, vegetables, fruits abundantly decorate all the festive tables. The charge of vivacity received on Navruz day strengthens, cleanses and renews spiritually and physically, brings to our life great joy and great hope.

On September of 2009, Navruz was included in the list of the intangible cultural heritage of mankind by UNESCO. At the end of February 2010, the 64th session of the UN General Assembly declared March 21 as the International day of Navruz.

In our country, Navruz is celebrated as a state holiday since 1990. Navruz was filled with new content in independent Uzbekistan. It is equally joyfully noted here by people of all nationalities, who were united by our common house - the Uzbek land. Navruz became an incentive for the development of cultural and historical traditions of peoples, a holiday of friendship, interethnic accord, and a ringing song to the prosperity of the Motherland. Navruz is celebrated in large cities and regional centers on a large scale. Theatrical performances take place on the squares and in the parks, in which eminent artists and amateur groups take part. Particular attention is paid to children, the elderly; all those who need help and care the most. People give each other gifts, congratulate on the holiday, and believe that the things done on the days of the holiday will please the whole year.

Особое внимание в этот день уделяется детям, старикам, всем тем, кто более всего нуждается в помощи и заботе. Люди дарят друг другу подарки, поздравляют с праздником, верят, что дела, сделанные в дни праздника, будут радовать весь год.

Many of the ancient rituals and customs that accompanied the celebration of Navruz in the old days have sunk into oblivion. But the main thing is the Spring Festival itself, bright, jubilant and sunny, which brings renewal of life and nature with it, and its eternal sign, the happier and happier the holiday will be the more generous and benevolent the Universe will be to the people.
Assalom, Navruz! Hello, a holiday of peace and good, fertility and abundance, happiness and joy!

Tamara Kazachenko