From ancient times people of Movaraunnahr nowadays modern Uzbekistan have celebrated the New Year on the 21st of March, the spring equinox.
The «Navruz» holiday is kept in many oriental countries, but each country has its own unique way of celebrating. The holiday is of great importance in Uzbekistan, because it is connected with local traditions and customs. «Navruz» is the beginning of the year when quarrels of all kinds should be stopped. It’s a time when people are reconciled, forgive one another, and are united.
The rebirth of «Navruz» has itself become a symbol of the revival of the traditions of our predecessors. Of course it is not only a celebration of the spring vernal, but a time when people try to fulfill past plans and make resolutions for the coming year.
«Navruz» is the precious heritage of our ancestors, whose lives were dependent on the land, water, sun and trees. And spring determines the stall of a new life-cycle, beginning with sowing, cultivating , and finally harvesting.
The spring winds begin to blow. The banks of “aryks” (the irrigation ditches) will be covered with light fresh grass, the trees start to break into leaves, and the branches will be decorated with lilac flowers, exhaling the musk fragrance.
A favorite saying among Uzbek people is, «May there always be light!» Light symbolizes kindness and justice. The victory of warmth over cold and of life over death. This is what the «Navruz» holiday is all about and therefore all these sentiments have become the basis of this holiday which is celebrated by the peoples of Central Asia, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Turkey amongst others.
As usual, houses, yards and streets should be put in order and cleaned. Hearty holiday banquets are prepared, and people give presents to their relatives and friends.
Now people of Uzbekistan cook “Sumalak” in spring, using sprouted grain, flour and oil. All day long and late into the night, it is cooked in large “kazans” (cooking pots) to the accompaniment of folk songs, jokes, and much laughter. It is said that “Sumalak” should be cooked by a wise, skillful and patient woman, then it will be the most delicious and nutritious meal.
The eating of “Sumalak” is symbolic of friendship and toler¬ance, especially when it is shared between the different ethnic groups, which make up Uzbekistan, such as Uzbeks, Tajiks, Kazakhs, Russians, and Koreans.
On «Navruz», congratulations echo through the streets as people and the heads of states send greetings to one another, wishing peace, prosperity and long life.
The month of March also marks the start of agricultural ac¬tivities, which accompany the first furrow and spring rains. Such Uzbek traditions as hospitality, mercy and the expression of hu¬mane attitudes towards fellow citizens, irrespective of race or creed, should be practiced during this holiday. Attention should especially be given to large families, the elderly, orphans, dis¬abled, the lonely, and underprivileged.
After the Independence of Uzbekistan, Navruz obtained National status and has been declared by the government as a national holiday. Festive celebrations are held on central square of the Capital and all provincial centers of Uzbekistan.
Competitions, mushoiras, and other cultural as well as sports events are organized. «Navruz» is gaining popularity and establishing fresh tradi¬tions in the newly independent state of Uzbekistan.