Bahai News -- News India-Times - Mayor Bloomberg recognizes ‘Nowruz’ holiday on March 20, 21

Mayor Bloomberg recognizes ‘Nowruz’ holiday on March 20, 21

By Ganesh S. Lakshman

The New Year day is ‘Nowruz’ for people of Iranian and Afghan origin, and it is ‘Navroze’ or ‘Nowroj’ for Parsis of Indian origin

New York city Mayor Michael Bloomberg has issued a formal proclamation recognizing the holiday of ‘Nowruz’ on March 20 and 21.

‘Nowruz,’ meaning New Day in Persian, is a multireligious and multicultural New Year celebrated by New Yorkers of Afghan, Iranian, Kurdish, and Central Asian origin, from Islamic, Zoroastrian, Christian, Jewish and Bahai communities, as well as by Zoroastrians of South Asian background known as Parsis.

It is celebrated by these communities throughout North America and diaspora nations, as well as in their countries of origin, a press release said.

Mayor Bloomberg’s proclamation may be the first official ‘Nowruz’ proclamation of its kind which formally tries to recognize all the diverse religious and cultural communities that celebrate the holiday.

Mayor Bloomberg’s proclamation may be the first official ‘Nowruz’ proclamation of its kind...

Although other proclamations have been issued by local and national leaders recently, all aimed at one specific community only, including a 1999 proclamation by New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to the Iranian-American community; and 2002 proclamations by President George W. Bush and Secretary of state Colin Powell, separately to the Iranian-American and the Afghan-American communities.

‘Nowruz,’ the ancient Persian spring festival celebrating growth and new beginnings, has its roots in Zoroastrianism, the monotheistic religion which preceded the arrival of Islam in what was then Persia in the seventh century, as well as in pre-Zoroastrian cultures.

‘Nowruz’ was not high on the media or general public’s radar screen until last year, when it became known that the Taliban had banned the holiday in Afghanistan due to its non-Islamic Zoroastrian and pre-Zoroastrian roots, and that 2002 was a year that Afghan citizens could finally freely celebrate the holiday, said the press release.

This holiday of unity has been celebrated by these diverse communities for thousands of years, regardless of religious background.

It is known as ‘Nowruz’ by those of Iranian and Afghan origin, who typically celebrate at the exact time of the spring equinox (usually on March 20); and known as ‘Navroze’ or ‘Nowroj’ by Parsi (South Asian) Zoroastrians, who celebrate on the fixed day of March 21.

©Copyright 2003, News India-Times (India)

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