March 28, 2023

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Noruz not limited to certain nations, Iran’s tourism minister says

TEHRAN —Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Minister Ezzatollah Zarghami has said the UNESCO-designated Noruz is universal and not limited to certain nations while he called it the oldest festival celebrated by human beings.

“Noruz is the oldest human festival and its history is tied to (the history of) nature,” Zarghami said on Monday.

“Noruz not only belongs to the twelve nations that make up its global registration, but also it belongs to all human beings on the planet.”

Zarghami made the remarks in an address to a meeting held in honor of the Persian New Year held in Tehran’s Niavaran Cultural-Historical Complex, Mehr reported.

“Many hidden ideas in Noruz’s core demonstrate how Noruz is connected to all goodness and virtue,” the minister said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the minister welcomed the joining and membership of other countries to intangible cultural heritage files for UNESCO, saying: For the intangible cultural heritage, the more countries become members, they will come closer to each other.

Moreover, Zarghami’s deputy for cultural heritage welcomed China and Mongolia’s efforts to join the Noruz case.

“We welcome the governments of China and Mongolia, who have submitted a request to join the Noruz case with open arms because we consider the expansion of Noruz as the expansion of peace,” Ali Darabi said.

A phenomenon known as intangible heritage has to do with people, their motivations, desires, and hopes, Darabi added.

“The global registration of Noruz as one of the greatest human heritages is a symbol of human hopes, desires, and connections with nature.”

Noruz, which usually falls on March 21st every year, marks the beginning of spring across a vast geographical area encircling Iran.

It has been registered as a common tradition practiced in Iran, Azerbaijan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Iraq.

The ancient festivity was initially registered on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009, as a common tradition for Iran, Azerbaijan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.

However, the five other countries put in requests officially to be added to the list during a meeting held in Tehran in January 2014.

The cross-cultural celebration of Noruz means “New Day” in Persian. Therefore, Noruz signifies and symbolizes a new beginning. People from different religious and cultural backgrounds celebrate Noruz. The return of spring has a great spiritual significance, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil and joy over sorrow.

These invaluable traditions have been passed down from generation to generation along the Silk Roads. Noruz provides an opportunity not only to enjoy ancient cultural customs but also to promote peace and solidarity within towns and communities.

As mentioned by the UN cultural body, Noruz has developed and expanded over time, incorporating new social, religious, and cultural influences. Although the traditions and customs of Noruz vary from country to country, there are many unifying features.


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