(Persia Digest) – As in Iran, Nowruz is an ancient national celebration in Tajikistan. A celebration holding the key to friendships and a revival of all nature.

Persian poetry and songs hold a special place in the customs of Tajikistan. It is interesting to know that many Nowruz customs here are accompanied by murmurs of songs in Persian.

Tajiks begin their celebrations a month before the spring equinox. The first three days of the last month of the year are celebrated with get-togethers, sitting around a bonfire, and song, music, and games. This is known as “Hout”, which is the name of the last calendar month.

Nowruz itself is known as “Khaidir Ayyām” in Tajikistan, meaning the great feast. Both Iran and Tajikistan celebrate mutual customs, but some are also different.

Of the important customs particular to Tajikistan is “Gol Gardani” [Flower festival]. Tajiks have held this festival from ancient times in honor of spring and the blossoming of nature with their folk songs and dances. Flowers are picked in the mountain foothills, bringing the good news of the end of winter and the beginning of a new agricultural year.

Other customs include special rituals wishing for good health, prosperity, blessings, and abundance. All family members take part in these and farmers prepare rice, bread, and other special foods for Nowruz. Around 15 to 20 of the elders are also invited to the ceremonies.

Nowruz celebrations faced limitation under Soviet rule in Tajikistan. But independence brought the increasing revival of old customs and Nowruz is known as a symbol of Tajik culture and identity.

It is planned for Nowruz to mark the new calendar year and replace the Christian year here. President Emomali Rahmon has stressed on this point on a number of occasions since 2011.

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