Beginning of spring in Kyrgyzstan
Day of spring equinox
Noruz, Nauryz, Nooruz, Navruz, Nowruz – these similar spellings are the name of the holiday which we celebrate on the 21st of March in Kyrgyzstan (together with other Turkic and Iranian sisterhood nations celebrate this holiday in their countries). Even though I live in Russia for the last 11 years, this holiday still stays for me the one I need to celebrate, like New Year or birthday. Unluckily, not many people know about this incredible day in Russia.
Let me tell you some bright information, let there be some positive things along with the news of covid-19. The more especially as Nooruz from old Persian means a new day.
The celebration of Nowruz started in VI-IV BC in the Persian empire of Ahemenids. This feast relates to Sun worship and legendary prophet Zoroaster. According to beliefs, on this day Zoroaster was chosen to be a god to bring happiness to this world. Following the rules of the Holy book of Zoroastrianism, Avesta, people have to celebrate the origination of life each spring, which originated in six types: sky, water, land, plant, animals, and human.
Nowruz is celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox, which usually occurs on 20 or 21st of March. In most countries of Central Asia on these dates, you already can feel the warm wind of real spring. Same we experience in Kyrgyzstan – my Motherland.
I spent my childhood in the south part of the country where March is totally felt like spring (in comparison with the country’s north). In the mid of March, all the surroundings are full of green, white and bright pink colors. This is the flowering of apple, apricot and almond trees. In my memories, our settlement smells like the sweetest apricot and sounds like bee that is going to pollinate the flowers.
A week before the 21st everybody was preparing for the celebration: collected the garbage in the streets and sweated it out, washed the windows, painted the fences, planted trees and flowers. Streets were swept with specific accuracy.
People organized community workdays at school, at work and everyone was happy to participate. On the evening of 20th families and friends gathered in the yard, where men foment hearth for women to cook Samanu (special drink of Nowruz). Also, women were cooking flatbread in tandyr (special stove for bread) and men were busy with cooking plov. Children were happy to be in the streets, played games close to their families and were amazed by the fact that they do not need to go home early. Everywhere we could hear the music and beautiful women voices singing national songs. Samanu (we pronounce it like sumalayak) is a favorite dish of Nowruz, there is something special in tasting it for the first time in a year. It is malt paste made out of sprouted wheat grain with the addition of flour and sugar. In childhood, I adored this taste of Samana. One more reason for children to love Nooruz – for the caroling they were getting sweets.
There is a special atmosphere of Nowruz, everyone in my settlement was waiting for it, it was lovely to visit each other with tasty food, dance together and sing national songs. We could even hear the sound of Karnay (national instrument, long trumpet with a mouthpiece). Streets musicians were walking from one settlement to another spreading a good mood. In the parks, children enjoyed eating cotton candy and lollipops.
I am sure that these traditions didn’t disappear, you can still experience the atmosphere of Nooruz it in Central Asians countries, spring is a special time in Kyrgyzstan and its sisterhood. Happy Nowruz, my dear friends! “New day” will visit us this year and everything will get alive likewise nature.