Tajiks together with more than 300 million people in a dozen countries, including Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iraq and Turkiye, will wish each other “Navrouz Muborak” or “Happy Navrouz” on March 21, when the traditional Iranian new year holiday is celebrated.

Celebrated for some 3,000 years, the Navrouz festival begins on the first day of spring celebrating the rebirth of nature and being celebrated almost a week in Tajikistan.

This year, however, Muslims who celebrate Navrouz, including all of Tajikistan’s 10 million population, will have to reconcile these traditions with the obligations of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan as Navrouz festival this year falls on Ramadan. 

During Ramadan, which is due to begin in Tajikistan this year on March 11, Muslims will refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk.

That poses a dilemma for the celebration of the Navrouz festival, which this year falls on the tenth day of Ramadan.     

Taking into account the convergence of Navrouz and Ramadan, the Dushanbe Municipality has decided to move the festive celebrations to the evening, when the fast is broken  

“All cultural activities will be carried out in the evening so that those who hold fast will also participate in these events,” an official source within the Dushanbe City Hall told Asia-Plus in an interview.

According to him, festive celebrations will be held in all Dushanbe’s parks in the evening from March 19-20.    

Ustod Roudaki Park in Dushanbe

“Local chefs will delight residents and guests of the capital with dishes of national cuisine,” the source said.

According to him, the main festive celebrations dedicated to Navrouz with participation of President Emomali Rahmon will take place in Istiqlol Square in Dushanbe on March 21. 

On the same day, the Navrouz Carnival and various sports and cultural activities will be held in Dushanbe.

On March 22, the city’s tourism committee will held an event dedicated to Navrouz traditions in Boghi Iram (Dushanbe’s Botanical Garden), the source added.   

Navrouz, which literary means New Day in Persian, Dari and Tajik languages, is the traditional Iranian new year holiday, celebrated by Iranian and many other peoples.  It marks the first day of spring and is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox (the start of spring in the northern hemisphere), which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed.  Today, the festival of Navrouz is celebrated in many countries, including Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, as well as Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.  Many peoples in West and South Asia, Northeast China, the Crimea, as well as Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia also celebrate this holiday.

In September 2009, the UN's cultural agency, UNESCO, included Navrouz on its list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.  On February 23, 2010, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the International Day of Navrouz.