To celebrate the International Day of Nowruz, the Persian New Year and the first day of spring, the Permanent Representatives of Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan, India, Kazakhstan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey , Turkmenistan and Macedonia hosted an official ceremony at the General Assembly Hall. The event also commemorated the one-year anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution 64/253, which officially recognizes Nowruz as an international day of Spring celebrations.
The ceremony was inaugurated by the President of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Joseph Deiss, who conveyed congratulatory remarks on the occasion of Nowruz. The gathering then heard the statement of UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon, which was delivered by his Chief of Staff, Vijay Nambiar. The Secretary General underscored the importance of Nowruz. “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”, said the UN Secretary-General.
In his statement, Ambassador Zahir Tanin captured the day’s symbolic importance by explaining the significance of Nowruz. “Nowruz is about a new beginning. It is a rebirth, which comes in the season in which nature plays out the metaphor of renewal in its budding, blossoming return to green”, noted Ambassador Tanin. He emphasized that “in today’s deeply interconnected world, sharing in cultural traditions and realizing a ‘cultural common ground’ can help us connect beyond national and political boundaries and further the cause of political and economic cooperation and integration.”
Also delivering remarks were the Minister of Information and Culture of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Mirzo Shorukh Asrori; and the Permanent Representatives of other co-sponsors of the UN General Assembly resolution 64/253; the Islamic Republic of Iran, Azerbaijan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Turkmenistan.
The Information and Culture Minister of Tajikistan highlighted the importance of Nowruz in strengthening cross-cultural understandings and congratulated the gathering on the occasion. On his part, the Permanent Representative of Iran to the UN, Mohammad Khazaee, spoke about the history of Nowruz in Iran and the region and it’s inter-relation with Islamic civilization.
The Permanent Representatives of the co-sponsoring countries reiterated the importance of celebrations like Nowruz as a means of strengthening global peace through mutual understanding and respect for cultures and heritage of different societies.
This event was preceded earlier in the day by the event, “Nowruz and the Earth: Harmony between culture and nature” which heard remarks from a panel of experts who emphasized the relevance, significance and history of Nowruz.
The panel discussion included such esteemed academics as Richard Nelson Frye, Akbar Turton, Parviz Morewedge, Michael Barry and Junita Castano. Themes such as the history of Nowruz, as one that pre-dates national borders, religious affiliations and cultural boundaries highlighted the significance of Nowruz as a means to bridge cultural differences.
Ambassador Tanin delivered opening remarks during which he paid homage to the celebration of Nowruz and nature where the theme of rejuvenation is significant in creating new life. Ambassador Tanin pointed out the importance of Nowruz as a regional festivity and lamented over the ban of celebrations by the Taliban almost a decade ago. Several poems were recited to further highlight the importance and reverence of Nowruz in the history, culture and literature of the Persian region.
Following the official ceremony at the General Assembly, guests were then welcomed to enjoy a selection of Persian cuisines, performances and traditional music in the warm ambience of the General Assembly Hall.