New Year in Navruz
Have you ever wondered about the best time to visit Uzbekistan?
Here’s the answer – the celebration of Navruz, one of the most important holidays in Central Asia! The oldest and the most colourful festival is celebrated on 21st March, the spring equinox.
The centuries-old festival has a history of over 2.000 years and came from Persian Zoroastrianism as a new year according to the solar calendar. The word “Navruz” means “new day”. It symbolises new life, and therefore, in preparation for the holiday, people tidy their homes and buy new clothes.
This holiday is celebrated by many people in the world including Iran, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Türkiye, India and Iraq.
Two weeks before the holiday, people arrange hashar (cleaning day) throughout the country. On the holiday, the focus is on the family. People play music, dance on the street, give gifts and sweets to relatives and neighbours and make wishes for the coming year.
Guests who come to Uzbekistan during these days have the unique opportunity to experience this ancient tradition. You can take part in the preparation of the main ceremonial dish of Navruz – sumalak. It is a sweet paste made entirely from sprouted wheat grains and is cooked in a large kazan (boiler). The process itself lasts 20-24 hours. The preparation of sumalak is accompanied by songs, dances and jokes, so it’s the ideal time to explore local cultures and sample national dishes. Sumalak is distributed to neighbours, relatives and friends, as well as to the needy people.