Nowruz Festival in Gilgit
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Nowruz: A Global Celebration and its Significance in Gilgit-Baltistan

For many communities worldwide, especially those living along the historic Silk Roads, Nowruz heralds the arrival of spring and a new year. This festival, which is observed by almost 300 million people, has over 2500 years of history and Zoroastrian roots. Nowruz, a festival of the new year, is a compound word from two Persian words: “now” means “new” and “ruz” means “day.” The spring equinox, which falls on March 20 or 21, is when Nowruz is celebrated. It is a day to bid winter farewell and welcome longer days and milder temperatures.

Background of Nowruz

The Persian New Year, also known as Nowruz, is observed globally by Iranians and some other ethnolinguistic communities as the start of a new year. The word nowruz literally translates to “new day.” Despite its religious Zoroastrian and Iranian roots, Nowruz has been observed by people from many ethnolinguistic groups. It has been observed for more than 3,000 years in Western Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the Black Sea Basin. For the majority of participants, it is a secular celebration that is appreciated by individuals of many religious backgrounds.

Evolution of Nowruz Celebrations

Over time, Nowruz celebrations have changed and adapted to local customs in different ways depending on the locale. The celebration of Nowruz began four weeks in advance in ancient Persia, since every Tuesday preceding the holiday was a distinct occasion with a distinct cultural flavor. The first was called Water Tuesday, emphasizing the rebirth of nature; the second was called Fire Tuesday, denoting rebirth; the third was called Earth Tuesday, indicating the earth’s revival; and the last was called Wind Tuesday, announcing the arrival of spring through the subsequent flowering. Among the common celebrations that are still carried out during the Nowruz holidays include crafting new garments, planting trees, and cooking meals for the family.

Unity Amidst Diversity

Pakistan celebrates Nowruz together with the rest of the world, particularly in Gilgit Baltistan (GB), the areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that border Afghanistan, and Baluchistan. It is observed nationwide by Ismailis, Baha’is, Zoroastrians, and a few other Shia faiths. Nowruz is celebrated in Gilgit Baltistan with just as much fervor as Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha.

Dada Celebration

Dada is the most well-liked Nawruz ceremony in Great Britain. Every kid born in Dada after the previous Nowruz is assembled in a special location, adorned with customary clothing for brides and grooms. It’s to greet and bless the children who are about to experience their first spring. The newborn newborns’ heads come into contact with the food that has been collected three times as it is stacked high with dry fruits and other goodies brought by each of the gathered families.

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