Navruz traditions in Afghanistan 

Although New Year is popular all over the world, Afghans don’t celebrate this traditional holiday on 1 January because they have their own equivalent. New Year in Afghanistan is called Navruz. It is very ancient; its history has a lot of legends and myths. Many years ago it was a day of spring and peasants. Now it is the most important holiday for Afghans. It is celebrated on 21 March (the day of Spring Equinox). Celebrations traditionally start at 1 a.m. It is a family holiday. All people are afraid of going out since at 1 a.m. until 12 p.m. on 21 March because Afghans strongly believe that if somebody leaves home, one of the family members will die next year. It is also forbidden to cry, punish children and stay angry and nervous because in this case the next year will be unhappy.


Afghans begin to prepare for this holiday in advance; preparations take place approximately 40 days. Four Tuesdays that are before the holiday are called because of different elements: Tuesday of water, Tuesday of fire, Tuesday of soul and the last Tuesday. People sew new clothes for all members of their families and clean their homes which means to become cleaner themselves. There is a belief that if somebody's home is dirty, angels won't come and won't give health, happiness and love to its inhabitants.
Navruz in Afghanistan


Food is an important part of this holiday. Afghans traditionally cook special meals. It is necessary to have «Haft-sin» which means 7 «s»’s on the table. It is a set of some products and meals which names begin with a Persian letter «sin» – usually garlic, apples, greenery, vinegar, sea-buckthorn, bread pudding, sumac (a spice), however, this set can change. Samanak is a kind of a pudding. It is made from wheat which is a symbol of fertility. Only women cook it on the eve of Navruz or some days before. Ladies have a special party for it; they sing a special song while they are cooking this meal. Fruits and nuts are also very important on the holiday table. Afghans don’t drink alcohol. Their traditional beverage is compote (however, it can be similar to a fruit salad) of seven kinds of fruits and nuts called «Haft-meva». You can see more https://travelingtourism.com/

«Haft-sin» which means 7 «s»’s on the table

Moreover, people usually bake special cookies, called Kulcha-e Nauruzi, bakeries also sell them. One more meal that is traditional is Sabzi Chalaw from rice and spinach. Moreover, there are a lot of other traditional meals on the table. Afghans also boil and paint eggs, usually by the number of children in the family. There is a belief that eggs help to became happier, that is why every child should eat one egg on the holiday.


However, there are not only eatable things on the holiday table. Traditionally Afghans also put a mirror, candles by the number of family members and a bowl with water and a green leaf. Every item has its symbolical meaning, although nowadays people don’t know it reliably.


Moreover, Navruz is famous for not only dishes, but also for events. For example, Jahenda Bala («raising») is a religious ceremony. It takes place on the first day at the Blue Mosque of Mazar-i-Sharif by raising a special flag. Such people as the Vice-President, different Ministers and Provincial Governors attend this event.


Different festivals take place all over the country. The Guli Surkh festival (Red Flower Festival) which is devoted to tulips is one of them; it takes place on the first 40 days of holidays in Mazar-i-Sharif, red tulips grow everywhere. One more event is Dehqan («farmer»). It is celebrated on the first day of the New Year; it is a farmers, s walking as a symbol of encouragement for plants.

Guli Surkh festival (Red Flower Festival)


Many people enjoy dancing «Attan». Both the dance and its melody are very old. The movements are circular. It has a lot of varieties, every province has its own dancing style. Everybody who wants can join it. It starts very slowly, however the dance becomes faster and faster, it makes the dancers tired. It finishes when there is nobody on the dance floor. However, there are many other different dances popular among ordinary people.


Afghans have their own Santa Claus. His name is Kampirak. He is an old man with a beard. He wears colourful clothes . He is a symbol of beneficence and nature powers. He and his suite go all over the country, reading different traditional poems and gathering charities among people.


Ordinary people have picnics with their families in green places where red berries grow. Afghans also enjoy reading Persian poetry and do different theatrical plays which plot is based on Navruz. Children and adults play different games. The most popular game for men is Buzkashi. Rules of this game are similar to polo on horses. However, there is no ball – instead of it players use a stuffed goat head.
Navruz is usually celebrated during three days; however, some traditional events can take place during two weeks or even more. It is so long because Afghans enjoy it very much. It is a holiday of hope, kindness and love. Its message is «Speak only kind words, do only great things, think only about something nice, and kindness will win».

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