19 March 2013
Nowruz press release
On 18 March, the United Nations celebrated the International Day of Nowruz, the celebration of the Persian New Year and beginning of spring for the fourth time. Ambassador Zahir Tanin, Permanent Representative of Afghanistan, as acting President of the General Assembly, opened the meeting and welcomed the guests.
Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon attended the event for the first time, helping to highlight the symbolic importance of spring as “celebrating the larger forces that unite us”: “ I offer my best wishes to those who celebrate [Nowruz], and express hope that all people can use the occasion to reflect on the beauty of nature, the promise of spring, and the power of culture to build peace.”
Both as Acting President of the General Assembly and as one of the twelve Permanent Representatives hosting the official ceremony, Ambassador Tanin welcomed the longstanding tradition of Nowruz as a symbolic “festival of nature.” He noted, “With the new spring, we gain a new energy. Nowruz has been celebrated and passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years, we celebrate today like they have done in the past through sharing words, songs, and each other’s company.”
He also emphasized the importance of the strong, vibrant, and shared culture of these countries: “The celebration of Nowruz exhibits the cultural solidarity between our countries. It is a tradition that stemmed from a diverse region that encompasses all the traditional centers of central, south, and west Asia.”
Also delivering remarks were Permanent Representatives from the other member states and co-sponsors of the UN General Assembly resolution 64/253, including Azerbaijan, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
The Islamic Republic of Iran generously coordinated the event. Following the official ceremony, guests gathered to watch traditional musical performances from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan. The Permanent Mission of Afghanistan was proud to welcome accomplished classical vocalist, Homayun Khan Farzad, one of Afghanistan’s most renowned and gifted artists and the talented percussionist Salar Nader, who exhibited tremendous virtuosity playing “Sixteen Beats” on the tabla. Later, hundreds of guests attended a reception celebrating various Persian cuisines from the host countries.
This was the fourth United Nations celebration of the International Day of Nowruz. The International Day of Nowruz was also officially recognized and registered on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in February 2010.