In this page, we present two reports from the Nowruz Celebration programs at the
“Nowruz and the Earth: Harmony between Culture and Nature”
Annually 300 million people around the world celebrate the Nowruz…
Reports and photos by:
General Assemble Hall of the United Nations, New York, which took place on March 21st and 25th, 2011:
Hümeyra KOÇAK and Bircan ÜNVER, Lightmillennium.Org
"Spring is nigh, spring is nigh
Beautiful spring has come by
the whole world is green and fresh
.........Tulips raise their heads up high.
Listen to the Lily, sweet Basil
Lily in ten tongues speaks so well
watch the waters and the roses fields
.........how colors and shapes multiply."
H.E. Joseph Deiss, President of the 64th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, chaired the official celebration of the Nowruz program at the General Assembly Hall of the UN on March 21st 2011.
“Our intention is to explore various aspects of Nowruz and the messages it carries. The recognition of Nowruz and making it being recognized by the world community along with its characteristics are significant steps to be taken.
Nowruz is the transformation in time and nature. Great lecturers and poets have accordingly called it "the festive of revival", symbolizing the resurrection and rebirth of the world.”
“The infinity of Nowruz has to be attributed to the fact that it has neither been an artificial social contract nor a politically imposed celebration. It is the birthday party of the earth, the commemoration of happiness in world, fiesta of blooming, excitement of rebirths and the overwhelming resumption.
Nowruz can open a new chapter to bring together all the nations. The table of Nowruz calls all members of the human family, regardless of their distance or political and geographical borders, to come together under the roof of friendship and compassion. Nowruz has the potential to be set as a means to assemble humanity and to sweep the stains of distance, discord and quarrel away while strengthens peace, friendship and solidarity among peoples. It is an invaluable inspiration which deserves to be promoted throughout the world.
Promotion of shared humane feelings throughout the universe is the goal of the Nowruz festival. Stirring common sentiments of humanity and strengthening solidarity among people regardless of all seemingly divisive racial, ethnic, economic and political factors are the symbolic specifications of Nowruz.
Alongside the rejuvenation of the earth, Nowruz promises the restoration of the grounds of friendship and reconciliation; and collaboration based on our common values and perfectionist temperament.”
--Extracted from the statement made by H.E. Mr. Mohammad Khazaee, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations at the Expert Panel Meeting on: “Nowruz and the Earth: Harmony between Culture and Nature” on March 21, 2011 in New York.
Permanent Mission of Iran to the United Nations sponsored and hosted an official celebration of the first anniversary of the “International Day of Nowruz” at the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations in New York City on March 21, 2011.
With that, on the evening of March 21st at the United Nations, the Persian New Year and the first day of spring were officially celebrated by the Permanent Representatives of Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan, India, Kazakhstan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Macedonia.
The President of the 64th Session of the General Assembly of the UN, H.E. Joseph Deiss, conveyed congratulatory remarks on the occasion of Nowruz and chaired the evening. The official ceremony continued with a statement of UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, which was delivered by his Chief of Staff, Vijay Nambiar. The Secretary General underlined the significance of Nowruz as follows: “Nowruz is a day for renewal. It is an opportunity to reflect on the intimate links between people and the natural world. And it carries a strong message of peace and harmony between peoples of all cultures on the basis of mutual respect and understanding.”
The UN General Assembly Hall was packed with high energy and it was also open to general public. The statements and inspirational messages given by the High Level UN representatives along with participating ambassadors of the member states delivered rich and diverse meanings with positive and constructive ideas, and energy. Following the official program, the Permanent Mission of Iran gave a rich dinner reception at the main lobby of the UN, which reflected the ritual and symbolic set-up of the Nowruz celebration in Iran. Live regional music performances by the participating countries accompanied the reception. It was a lively event; new connections and renewals emerged from the official statements and the reception on the very first day of spring as well as on the Iranian New Year Eve.
It was a sort of shifting point at the UN in terms of the overall energy, cultural diversity, recognition of the Nowruz, and its cultural richness and power. On the other hand, I couldn’t help myself thinking about the ongoing sanctions on Iran for several years; and Libya was under attack and being bombed by the French and the US military forces on this particular evening. With these two sharp contrasts, I also thought how ironic this was: while we celebrated the Nowruz at the UN for hope, peace, renewal, and with the aim of reconnecting with nature, Libya, its natural resources and people’s lives and future were under attack on the day of Nowruz and the first day of spring!
The UN must find a new way in order to protect civilians both from the dictators and the Western powers, as well as to protect the natural resources, daily life, the establishments of people, and cultural heritage in Libya, and in each and every corner of the world. Otherwise, there might be no nature left to reconnect with, nor a reason to celebrate the Nowruz in the coming years!
2: March 25th 2011 – General Assemble Hall of the United Nations, New York:
On the Celebration of the International Day of Nowruz
Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly
H.E. Mehmet Ali Sahin, Speaker of the Turkish Parliamen
Mr. Dusen Kasseinov, Secretary-General of TURKSOY
Mr. Maher Nasser, Director of Outreach Division, Department of Public Information
On the occasion of the first annual International Day of Nowruz, a special concert performance took place in the General Assembly Hall at United Nations Headquarters on the evening of Thursday, 24 March 2011.
Nowruz is the first day of the New Year according to the traditional Persian calendar. It is widely observed as the beginning of spring throughout Eurasia and is celebrated annually by approximately 300 million people around the world. Nowruz was placed on UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity during the 2009 Inter-governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage, held in Abu Dhabi. Originally known as the Holiest Zoroastrian Festival, Nowruz is believed to have been invented by Zoroaster himself.
The special concert was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Turkey and the International Organization of Turkic Culture Turksoy-- TURKSOY aims to strengthen the cultural ties between the various regions and communities of Eurasia. The concert featured a colorful splendid display of the folkloric music, dance, rituals and costumes of the Turkic region, including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Gaga Zia (Republic of Moldova), Ukraine, and the Russian Federation.
Opening remarks were delivered by H.E. Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly; His Excellency Mr. Ertugrul Apakan, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Turkey to the UN; H.E. Mehmet Ali Sahin, Speaker of the Turkish Parliament; and Mr. Dusen Kasseinov, Secretary-General of TURKSOY. Mr. Maher Nasser, Director of Outreach Division, Department of Public Information moderated the program.
In its Resolution A/RES/64/253 (February 2010), the General Assembly designated 21 March as the International Day of Nowruz, in recognition of "the ever-increasing significance and relevance of a culture of living in harmony with nature, which is inherent in all civilizations in today’s world" and the importance of "strengthening the ties among peoples based on mutual respect and the ideals of peace and good neighborhoodliness".
The United Nations Information Centers were also involved in the celebration of the first observance of the International Day of Nowruz. In Tehran, for example, the full text of the GA Resolution has been translated into Persian and posted on the front page of the website, and it has been published by IRNA, the main news agency in Iran, and by Tehran Times, an English daily newspaper. The message of the Secretary-General was also translated in Persian. (Source: UN Department of Public Information.)
A magnificent Nowruz Celebration at the General Assembly of the UN on March 25th 2011.
Nowruz is one the cultural festivals of the Turkic world that has a history of more than five thousand years, which is considered as the herald of spring and the “new day”. As the beginning of a new year, the festival symbolizes rebirth and it is an occasion for wishes, hopes, and expectations for the future.
Nowruz concert program opening ceremony started with the welcoming speech of H.E. Joseph Deiss, President of the 64th Session of the General Assembly. H.E. Deiss reaffirmed in his opening statement that the date March 21st has been recognized as the International Day of Nowruz, which symbolizes the arrival of spring, renewal, and reconnecting us with nature.
He mentioned that this remarkable tradition is a message to the world, friends, and families for peace, hope and prosperity. Following was a speech by the Speaker of the Turkish Parliament Mr. Mehmet Ali Sahin, who stated that he brought greetings from Turkey. He also mentioned that the recognition of March 21st as the day of Nowruz celebration at United Nations General Assembly is very significant and meaningful. He explained that Nowruz means the revival of nature and it is a feast to refresh our hopes and prospects of people who live in a vast region from Anatolia to the Balkans, from central Asia to America. He said it may be celebrated through different kinds of events, but it is always the same spirit of Nowruz that brings distances closer. The common message is love, peace, and friendship in harmony with each culture. He said that on March 21st nights shorten and days are long, and the extended day represents a transition to light over darkness. These are new beginnings, he said, nature gives us a very nice message indicating renewal of lives.
Further, Mr. Sahin indicated that there is a need to change poverty. In current chaos of the world, every five seconds a child is dying of hunger and thirst, he said. On the contrast, the number of obese children have increased by about one million. Therefore, we all have to create a powerful ring around the fire Nowruz. (It is believed that wishes will come true during Nowruz by lighting a bonfire and jumping over it.)
Mr. Sahin continued his speech as follows: “We live on the same earth, and let’s make universal festivals. Let’s sustain love, peace, and brotherhood together. Cultural values and events contribute to communities to live in harmony; and we have to introduce them to the World. The United Nations symbolizes the world; with this occasion, I celebrate Nowruz not only as Eurasia’s but as the whole world’s unification. This is a very significant step to bring societies together and share values and transmit these values to the future generations.”
Finally Mr. Dusen Kasseinov, Secretary General of TURKSOY, spoke on behalf of the International Organization of Turkic Culture. This year TURKSOY is bringing the joy of Nowruz to USA. Mr. Kasseinov stated, "Nowruz symbolizes the beginning of spring, awakening of new hope, unity, peace, and fertility. Adoption of this resolution brings joy of Newroz to the UN with 120 musicians’ and dancers’ diversity of culture. New day will bring prosperity and peace," and he concluded his speech with a quote from Dede Korkut. (Heroic legend.)
Nowruz concert program continued with beautiful colorful folkloric rituals, dances, and singing by the performers from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Gagauzia (Moldova), Khakassia (R.F.), Turkey, Tyva (R.F.), Crimea (Ukraine), and Baskhkortostan (R.F.).
The Nowruz celebration night at the United Nations in New York was a magnificent and astonishing occasion in conjunction that brought joy to the attendees. It also presented a show-case from the 5000 years of Turkic cultures. Furthermore, both the official celebration of the Nowruz on March 21st as the Iranian New Year and renewal day and the 25th of March Nowruz concert program contributed greatly to building new bridges between and across cultures. With this magnitude and effect, Nowruz will continue to promote the values of peace and solidarity, cultural diversity and friendship among peoples and various communities in the world.
Nature renews itself with zeal. People are also cleansed and renewed both physically and spiritually. People’s emotions and ideas are also renewed through the beginning of a New Year, in different cultures with different calendars, similar to Chinese New Year. In conclusion, both of the Nowruz celebration programs at the United Nations presented the joy of nature’s renewal as well as faith in mankind and best wishes. Happy Nowruz! Happy renewal, re-birth, and New Year!
[Report 2: Humeyra Kocak, 3/26/2011, New York.]