So what is Nawruz? It means the new day, the first day of the year. Why is it celebrated? Because nature wakes up, Spring comes. Who celebrates Nawruz? Turks, Persians, Kurds, Zazas, Azerbaijanis, Afghans, Albanians, Georgians, Turkmens, Tajik, Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, Zerduşt, Bahai, and many others. The word Nawruz is Persian and it means “new day”. First time in history, it was celebrated in the Persian Empire in the 2nd Century. Between 648 BC and 330 different nations brought presents to the Persian Shah on Nawruz. Since 8th Century BC Turks celebrate Nawruz on March 21. Nawruz tradition started with the ending of the Ice Age. Nearly 15.000 years old Festival is an important symbol of the integrity between “human”, “nature”, and the “universe”. In Iranian culture Nawruz symbolizes the passage from hunting to settled life. Since those times, Nawruz means fertility and happiness for the human that lives dependent on nature’s conditions. In fact the shortest and full definition of Nawruz would be “an ostentatious sign of east’s wisdom”. The longest Nawruz celebrations take place in Afghanistan. In this country Nawruz lasts for two weeks. In Mezar-ı Sharif town, the celebrations go on for 40 days. Another important detail about Nawruz is the fact that Nawruz became a regular festival thanks to Zarathustra… This info is important as it shows the philosophical depth of Nawruz. Today Nawruz is celebrated in a wide geography and in Turkish communities. So let’s talk about the relation between “Turks” and “Nawruz”. Turks’ New Day… In Turkic republics other than Turkey, Nawruz is celebrated as an official festival. Nawruz was accepted as a festival in 1995, but not officially. In Turkish mythology Nawruz also takes place in a legend where Turks melt down an iron mountain and reach their freedom. In Turkish culture, Nawruz is accepted as the day spring arrived and nature woke up when the iron mountain was melted. Turkish Calendar separates the day into 12 periods. Each period is 2 hours long. These periods called “çağ” have 8 segments called “keh”. March 21 –Nawruz- is the first day of the new year when day and night are of equal length. Therefore, Nawruz is largely included in Turkish music and literature. The Ottoman Empire, Seljuk Empire, and Anatolian Seigniories have also continued to celebrate Nawruz, after adopting Islam. Nawruz was an official festival in Ottomans and Seljuks. This festival had special food like “sümelek” and “nevruziye”. Nevruziye reached our day with Mesir Macunu Festivals in Manisa. Nawruz does not have an Islamic dimension and it is based on animist and theist principles, and bears the marks of Shamanism. In Alawi-Bektashi culture it is celebrated with the name “Mart Dokuzu”. From Uighur to Balkans, from Iraq to Crimea Nawruz has an important place in Turkish literature, folklore, cuisine, and beliefs. Turkish poets mention Nawruz using the adjectives “respectable” and “sultan”. Another important point is that Nawruz was respected in all parts of the societal life throughout history in Anatolia. The palace, the people, regional authorities and all others perceived Nawruz through the same point of view and celebrated it together. This way, Nawruz was enriched both in folk literature and in palace circles. Although there are Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Shamans among Turks, Nawruz bears the same meaning for all of them. The USSR had banned Nawruz celebrations as a precaution to prevent solidarity among Turkic nations and to establish a uniformal identity within their borders. This is an important reason for Nawruz celebrations in Central Asia and Caucasia being so cheerful. With the spread of Islam, Nawruz was partially influenced by religion. In this context some beliefs have emerged. The beliefs that God created the world on March 21 and Adam’s dust was mixed on March 21 are examples of this influence. Likewise, there are beliefs that relate important developments about Noah, Adam, Eve, Yunus, Moses, Mohammed, and Ali to March 21. In our day, ethnocentric approaches that are boosted by macro-nationalist movements set up a tough ideological framework for each taste, melody, color and sign. Nevertheless, in this age of the world history in which sharing is at its top, everybody should accept that beauties and happiness grows bigger by sharing! Those celebrating Nawruz and those being happy with Nawruz share a precious common point, knowingly or not. They need to know this, and be happy for this. From this point on, there is no sense at all in looking for answers to shallow and meaningless questions like “Whose is Nawruz?”, “Who celebrated it first?” and trying to garner political results out of those answers. Nawruz belongs to those who celebrate it. Nawruz belongs to those who love it. Happiness without sharing is broken. Goodness and beauty gains value not by egoism but by sharing. Turkey : Nevruz Azerbaijan : Novruz Kazakhstan : Navrız meyrami, Navruz, Nevruz Bayramı, Nevruz Köce, Ulus Günü. Kyrgyzstan : Nooruz. Uzbekistan Turks : Nevroz. Northern Cyprus : Mart Dokuzu. Crimea : Navrez. Western Thrace Turks : Mevris Altai Turks : Cılgayak Bayramı. Bashkortostan Turks : Ekin Bayramı. East Turkistan : Yeni Gün, Baş Baha Uighur Turks : Yeni Gün, Baş Bahar. Gagauz : İlkyaz Karachai-Malkar Turks : Gollü, Gutan, Saban Toy, Tegri Toy. Kazan Turks : Ergenekon Bayramı Karapapaklar/Terekemeler : Ergenekon Bayramı Kumuk Turks : Yazbaş Nogay Turks : Navruz, Saban Toy Tatars : Nevruz Turkmens : Teze Yıl Kurds : Newroz Iran : Newroz Tajikistan : Navrız meyrami Albania : Sultan Nevruz
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