Afghan Culture Festivals and Celebrations Nowruz Everything You Need to Know About Nowruz Nowruz is a traditional festival of Spring; it starts on the day of the vernal equinox, and marks the beginning of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. The name ‘Nowruz’ comes from the ancient Avestan language meaning ‘new day’ and the festival symbolises the rebirth of nature, new life and new beginnings. When exactly is Nowruz celebrated? The precise moment when the Earth's equator passes through the center of the Sun's disk, making the length of the day and the night exactly equal, is calculated every year and this dictates when the festival is celebrated. Usually, the equinox happens sometime between 19th March and 21st March. Where is Nowruz celebrated? Although Nowruz has Persian and religious Zoroastrian origins, the festival has been celebrated by a diverse array of communities for thousands of years. Today, 300 million people celebrate the festival worldwide, including most in Afghanistan, to promote the values of peace and solidarity both within families, among friends and across communities. Nowruz in Afghanistan In Afghanistan, celebrations usually last around two weeks, culminating on the first day of the Afghan New Year, March 21st - this year will be the year 1398! Preparations for Nowruz traditionally start after Chaharshanbe Suri (the last Wednesday before the New Year) and the following day is Farmer’s Day, which is marked across the country with ceremonies and displays of agricultural products and livestock. A large, multi-day exhibition is held in Badam Bagh, Kabul each year, at which new ideas and practices, as well as products, are traded between farmers. People are happy during Nowruz. They buy new clothes for their children. They host parties for their friends and family and they cook a traditional food named “Samanak” on Nowruz days. The girls and women sing songs during the cooking of Samanak. It is a happy time! From everyone here at Afghanaid, we wish all those celebrating a very happy and peaceful Nowruz! Check out our recipe for Ab-E-Dandon - melt in the mouth biscuits which are especially popular during Nowruz celebrations.