Nowruz Festival (诺鲁孜节), is a Muslim holiday commonly known as Persian New Year (or sometimes Iranian New Year) is widely celebrated by Muslims throughout the world. The Nowruz Festival is a public holiday in countries like: Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Pakistan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
In China Nowruz is celebrated mostly in Xinjiang province, by minor ethnic groups like Uyghurs (维吾尔族), Kazakhs ( 哈萨克族), Kyrgyzs (柯尔克孜族), Tajiks (塔吉克族), Uzbeks (乌孜别克族) and others.
The word Nowruz (also called Nooruz) comes from the Iranian, meaning “Spring Water“, marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in the Persian calendar; it falls on March 21 each year.
Spring cleaning or a “complete cleaning of the house” is commonly performed before Nowruz. During the Nowruz holidays, people are expected to visit one another (mostly families, friends and neighbors) in the form of short house visits. That day all members of the family dress up and cook nice holiday meals (celebrants believe that whatever you cook and put on the table will affect the rest of the year, so usually the table is full of food of all kinds).
Only men go to mosque, but everybody attends other kind of New Year activities such a singing and dancing, wrestling, guessing games, and flying kites etc. Since Xinjiang and other Silk Road countries are mostly nomadic, the holiday includes a lot of games on horses like “Chasing the Girl”, wrestling on horses, and so on.
Image courtacy of 新疆都市消费晨报