(eTN) - Novroz is celebrated in Central Asia, South Asia, and Eastern Europe â Novroz is a Persian word meaning "New Day" and was celebrated all over Central Asia yesterday, and in some parts of eastern Europe and Iran.
Novroz is the greatest symbol of interfaith harmony, peace, and love among people because it has an origin in pre-islamic history but is widely celebrated by Muslims and non-Muslims as well. The Region Initiative (TRI), which promotes interfaith harmony, celebrated this day in Central Asia and South Asia through its members.
Novroz is the name of the "Persian New Year" and since Central Asia and South Asia had been a part of historic Persia, Novroz became the traditional New Year for many parts of these regions. It may be mentioned that Central Asia, Afghanistan, Baluchistan of Pakistan, Iran, Kashmir, and whole northern areas of Pakistan had been part of the Persia Empire for thousands of years along with Caucasus, Northwestern China, the Crimea, and some groups in the Balkans.
Therefore, Novroz is widely celebrated in Eastern Europe also.
Novroz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in the Persian calendar. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed. As well as being a Zoroastrian holiday and having significance among the Zoroastrian ancestors of modern Iranians, the same time is celebrated in parts of the South Asian sub-continent as the new year. The moment the sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day, it is calculated exactly every year, and Iranian families gather together to observe the rituals.
Originally a Zoroastrian festival, and the holiest of them all, Novroz is believed to have been invented by Zoroaster himself, although there is no clear date of origin. Since the Achaemenid era, the official year has begun with the New Day when the sun leaves the zodiac of Pisces and enters the zodiacal sign of Aries, signifying the Spring Equinox.
It is also a holy day for Sufis, Ismailis, Alawites, Alevis, and adherents of the Baha'i Faith. The term Nowruz in writing, first appeared in Persian records in the 2nd century AD, but it was also an important day during the time of the Achaemenids, c. 548-330 BC, where kings from different nations under the Persian empire used to bring gifts to the Emperor, also called King of Kings (Shahanshah), of Persia on Nowruz. The significance of Nowruz in the Achaemenid empire was such that the great Persian King Cambyses II's appointment as the king of Babylon was legitimized only after his participation in the New Year festival (Novruz).