03/24/2022, 09.16
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The 'Nawruz', the Persian spring in the night of war

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Since 2009, this religious festival has been a UNESCO intangible heritage site. It is celebrated by many peoples of Russia and Central Asia. It promotes the values of peace and solidarity. It raises the question of acceptance of others, and the search for a common language, a problem that exploded in the war between Russia and Ukraine.



Moscow (AsiaNews) - March 20 marked the start of the feast of "Nawruz", a holiday of Persian origin, which in Turkish and Iranian culture symbolises the beginning of spring and is remembered with great enthusiasm by many peoples of Russia and Central Asia. In 2009, the festival was included in the UNESCO list of intangible heritage of humanity. This year the celebration overlaps with the tragedies of the war in Ukraine, and many are trying to take advantage of it to seek a break from tensions and threats to the future.

The president of the Russian Institute for Religion and Politics, Anton Ignatenko, gathered representatives of various communities and denominations to call for peace on the occasion of Nawruz. He stressed that this holiday "helps us unite cultures and religions without pretending to elevate one over the others, giving preference to the East rather than the West to the detriment of the unity of mankind".

According to the members of the Institute, as they say in their joint statement, "this holiday helps to spread the values of peace and solidarity, across generations and within families, as well as reconciliation and peaceful neighbourhood, in the preservation of cultural diversity and the strengthening of the sense of friendship between peoples and communities".

Ignatenko pointed out that the presentation of the Nawruz at the UN was attended by many countries, including Azerbaijan, Albania, Afghanistan, Macedonia, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Turkey.

Despite the dramatic war tensions, even Russian President Vladimir Putin did not shy away from congratulating Russia's neighbouring peoples celebrating the Nawruz. His message was reported on the presidential website of Uzbekistan, which referred to a telephone conversation between Putin and President Šavkat Mirziyoyev, which began with wishes for the Spring Festival.

The deputy chairman of the Religious Administration of Muslims in Russia, Rušan Abbasov, intervened to assure that 'the festival of Nawruz does not contradict the canons of Islam'. He added that the holiday "has been able to integrate with the life and traditions of many different societies... when these traditions do not violate the principles of the Sharjah, they have always been preserved, as can be seen in the different architecture of mosques in various countries".

The celebrations of the 'Nooriz', as it is called in Kyrgyzstan, were particularly solemn, with President Sadyr Žaparov going with his wife to the province of Batken, the most 'Persian' of the country, promising to find solutions to the serious economic problems of the area and the entire country. He promised to find solutions to the serious economic problems in the area and in the country as a whole. A new administrative unit had recently been set up in Batken, "at the beginning of the borders of our homeland, and we must insist on the development of these structures," he said, in order to avoid a reignition of border conflicts with Tajikistan. He called for "not leaving future generations a legacy of conflict and enmity".

The Russian-Uzbek philosopher and writer Akbar Tursunov, a lecturer in St Petersburg, believes that 'this holiday is a cultural event common to all peoples, studied from a mythological, anthropological, theological and artistic point of view... The New Year of the peoples of Iran and the Turkic world is also a tradition that has yet to be studied in depth, with various historical, folkloric and ethnographic aspects'. According to Tursunov, 'the question of acceptance of the other and the search for a common language arises here' - a particularly acute problem, which exploded in the war between Russia and Ukraine.

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