(Persia Digest) – Nowruz is not only celebrated in Iran. Many neighboring countries also celebrate this New Year, including Pakistan and Turkey.

The Basnat Kite Festival in Punjab, Lahore, falls on the spring equinox and is also a celebration of Nowruz.

In Iran, Pakistan, and ten other countries, 300 million people celebrate Nowruz with similar customs at the beginning of spring. The UN General Assembly has proclaimed 21 March as international Nowruz Day with Iranian roots on its calendar.

Countries sharing Nowruz include, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and a number of Central Asian countries.

Nowruz is also called “Alam Afruz” in Pakistan – meaning a day that will illuminate the world with its coming. Spending time in nature and visiting family and friends are part of the customs observed in Pakistan.

The Nowruz celebrated in Gilgit-Baltistan, in the northern areas of Pakistan, is very similar to the one celebrated in Iran. These include the Haft Sin spread, painted egg gifts, polo games, and visiting family and friends.

This is also celebrated in Punjab as the Spring Festival, when colorful kites are flown during the Basant Panchami Festival, mainly in its capital Lahore, which is the cultural center of the country.

Nowruz is celebrated in Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province by going to nature and jumping over fire for purification.

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