Happy Nowruz: A New Year has Now Begun

An official UN holiday celebrated by people around the world
Rahman Mohamed

 

Google First Day of Spring Doodle - End
Google Doodle, first day of spring

 

Nowruz is a holiday celebrated annually on March 21 internationally.  It’s the first full day after the “vernal equinox, [and] is celebrated as the beginning of the new year by more than 300 million people all around the world”.  As the first official day of spring it’s a holiday that goes back over 3,000 years in the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Middle East, now spreading to Europe and North America.  In 2010 the UN declared March 21 International Day of Nowruz.

Yesterday Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK issued a press release sending his “warmest wishes to everyone in Britain and around the world celebrating Nowruz

What is Nowruz?  Not only is it a festival that’s celebrating the New Year through the first day of spring, the rejuvenation of the Earth, but one that is marked by a time of spiritual renewal and a new outlook to the future with hope and optimism.

One community that enthusiastically celebrates Nowruz worldwide are the Ismaili Muslims, a part of the Shia branch of Islam who affirm that Hazrat Ali, the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law was appointed his successor and are today led by His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Imam of the Ismailis.

Ismailis celebrate Nowruz by reciting devotional poetry and distributing dried fruits, nuts and grains, symbolizing blessings of abundance and sustenance.

Happy Nowruz!  May the New Year be better than last!

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