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Historical Facts about Nowroz and Solar Year



ولی پوپل
To call Nowroz, a festive occasion, which is celebrated in Afghanistan, the
countries of Central Asia, Turkey, Iran, Syria, and even in Pakistan as exclusively the Persian New year, is inappropriate, politically offensive to many other nations and historically wrong for the following reasons:

• According to the information gathered from Avestan texts (Yasht and Vandidad) the celebration of Nowroz for the first time started in Bukhdi or Balkh circa 1300 BCE. This epoch according to Vedic texts in Sanskrit corresponds with the era of Yamma, one of the first rulers of Pishdadian Dynasty in Balkh.

• Similarly Nowroz was observed during the rule of Weasht-Aasp the king of Balkh, in the entire sacred land of Avesta which included Bukhdi, (Balkh) Aria, (Herat), Darangiana, (Zaranj), Etomand (Helmand) , Arachosia, (Kandahar), Bamikan (Bamiyan), Kophen (Kabul), Nangarhara, (Nangarhar), and Gandahara and Purushpura (Khaybar and Peshawar). Out the 16 cities that are mentioned in Avesta 12 of them are in the soil of Afghanistan today.

• Zoroaster emerged from the ancient Balkh and his religious ideas spread to Sogdiana in Transoxiana and eastern shores of Caspian Sea circa 1100 BCE. His emphasis on celebrating and respecting farmers was one of the core values of his teachings. This is the reason that the Farmer’s Day is still celebrated in Afghanistan. We also have special day for planting a tree during the festive days of the New Year. These traditions are totally unknown to the Iranians.

• During the emergence of Avestan Culture, the Elamite Culture of Persia was under the influence of Mesopotamian civilization. In most countries of the Middle East the Lunar Calendar was common. It was not until 550 BCE, years later that the Persians became familiar with the civilization of ancient Bactria during the era of the Achaemenids. This was the time that they learned about the celebration of Nowruz.

• After the collapse of the Sassanid Kings of Persia by Islamic conquests in 642 AD, Persia became under the political and cultural influence of the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphs for ten centuries. Thus Nowroz was not celebrated in Persia for almost ten consecutive centuries. It was during the era of the Safavid Kings in 16th century that the celebration of Nowroz was started in Persia. However, during this long period, in the reign of the Samanids, Ghaznawid, Ghorid and Seljuk Kings Nowroz was widely celebrated in Afghanistan, Send, Transoxiana, and Rum of Seljuks in Turkey.

• For this very reason, since Nowroz was a forgotten tradition in Persia, the Iranians today combine totally unrelated items for the celebration of the New Year such as, Garlic, Apple, Vinegar, Spinach, Live Fish in a glass bowl and Samaq (a special spice for meat) and some other item on their Nowroz table, which are completely irrelevant to celebration of the spring and starting a happy New Year.

• In Afghanistan we make of the juice of seven fruits, which symbolizes prosperity and freshness of spring. They are dried fruits but by getting mixed with water they will become fresh again. As the rain falls and makes the dried nature prosperous again.

Thus to call the celebration of Nowroz, exclusively a Persian New Year is incorrect. This is a mistake that often the western writers who are fed incorrectly by the Iranian writers make; however, the people who are from the same region and know their history and culture should not make such a mistake.
Saif Fazel

Library:

Saif Fazel

Author:

Wali Popal











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