Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Happy Navrus!!!

Navruz, the spring "New Year" holiday, has been celebrated for more than 2,500 years, perhaps for as long as 5,000 years. Originating in Persia and long associated with the ancient Zoroastrian religion, its name means "new day" in Farsi because to ancient Persians it marked the first day of the new year. On this day, Persian kings would have worn a crown with images of the annual solar cycle on their heads, participated in a divine mass in the Temple of Fire, and distributed generous gifts to citizens.

Today, Navruz is celebrated each year on March 21, when the sun enters the sign of Aries on the astrological calendar. In the northern hemisphere, this date frequently coincides with the spring equinox, the day on which the number of daylight hours equals the number of nighttime hours. On our modern Gregorian calendar, the spring equinox varies from March 19 to March 21. Although their calendars were different, ancient peoples followed the course of the sun and moon closely, and knew that the seasons began to change on this date. For them, it was if the powers of light had overcome the powers of darkness, allowing the earth to awaken and life to be rekindled.

I celebrated my first Navrus in the absolutely gorgeous ancient city of Samarkand, where the air is different from anywhere else in the world and the blue tiled domes of the madrassahs and mosques are meant to mirror the firmament.

My beloved husband is Uzbek.

Today is also my father's birthday. He would have been 97 today. I think of him happily every year on this day (except I'm crying a little bit right now).

Biramingiz Mubarek Bulcyn...congratulations on the holiday! (in Uzbek--I just called MZA to confirm I got it right)...and let's rejoice that those powers of light are overcoming the powers of dark, eh?

Note to Michelle: You might be able to get some Vernal Equinox party supplies in Tashkent! And a special shout out to Dash Riprock--have some sumalyak for me, bro! Oh, and Beatricia! Your drain clog is getting cold...

Photo: © Zeldafitz 2005


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