International Organization of Turkic Culture (TURKSOY) is introducing the feast of Nevruz to USA. In previous years, TURKSOY celebrated Nevruz feast in Paris and Strasbourg in addition to many cities of Turkey and Turkic Republics. This year TURKSOY is bringing the joy of Nevruz to USA. The Nevruz celebrations organized by TURKSOY will take place at the UN General Assembly Hall in New York and in Washington D.C starting from March 24th 2011.
PROGRAM OF NEVRUZ CELEBRATIONS IN THE USA
March 24th, 2011
13.00 Press Conference (UN Headquatres – New York)
18.00 Nevruz Concert (UN Headquarters-General Assembly Hall – New York)
20.00 Reception (Permanent Mission of Turkey – New York)
March 25th, 2011
14.00 Panel on Nevruz (Boston – Harvard University)
March 26th, 2011
20.00 Nevruz Concert (Town-Hall, Times Square, New York)
March 28th, 2011
14.00 Panel on Nevruz (Georgetown University- Washington)
19.00 Nevruz Concert (Lincoln Theatre, Washington)
UN RECOGNIZED MARCH 21ST AS THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF NEVRUZ
The UN officially recognizes Nevruz, which was included into the UNESCO ‘‘Intangible Cultural Heritage List’’ in 2009. Thus March 21st was declared to be the ‘‘International Day of Nevruz’’ during the session of the General Assembly of the UN on December 2nd, 2009 (document A/64/L.30/Rev.2). Through this resolution, the General Assembly calls on countries that celebrate Nevruz, intergovernmental organizations, notably UNESCO, and non-governmental organizations to cooperate for the promotion and celebration of Nevruz.
TURKSOY: THE CULTURAL BRIDGE OF THE TURKIC WORLD
The Culture Ministers of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan Turkmenistan, and Turkey signed the “Agreement on the Principles as Regards the Foundation and Activities of TURKSOY” and founded TURKSOY on July 12, 1993.
As an organization of multilateral cultural cooperation established with the aim of researching, promoting and handing Turkic culture down to upcoming generations, TURKSOY has been celebrating the festival of Nevruz with various activities each year since 1995. Moreover, upon the initiative of TURKSOY, Nevruz celebrations also took place at the UNESCO Headquarters on March 29, 2009 with the participation of more than 100 artists from 8 countries.
TURKSOY, which is an international organization that shares the same principles and objectives as UNESCO and does not restrict its activities to its member states, took the necessary steps to celebrate Nevruz at the UN General Assembly in 2011 in order to support intercultural rapprochement and the process of dialogue between civilisations. Therefore, the UN General Assembly Hall has been put at the disposal of TURKSOY for the Nevruz celebrations on March 24, 2011. The activites that will be organized at the UN General Assembly Hall in New York and then in Washington will take place with the contributions of the Permanent Missions of TURKSOY member states to the UN, notably Turkey, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation.
Nevruz festivities, which will continue in Washington after New York, will be an occasion for better acquainting the American people with the rich Turkic culture as well as for building new bridges across cultures through the universal language of culture and arts.
THE MEANING OF NEVRUZ
Nevruz is considered as the herald of spring and the ‘‘new day’’ by the peoples of the vast Eurasian geography. It symbolizes the bountiful, fertile and lively characteristics of the awakening nature as well as the values of love, fraternity, sharing, peace and friendship. Nevruz is the day Mother Nature starts breathing again and turns green in an act of resurrection. Also known under such names as Navrız, Yeni Gün (New Day), Ulu Kün (Holy Day),Mart Dokuzu (9th of March), Çıl Pazı, Çanı Kün, Şagaa,
Isıah and Yeni Kün (New Day). Nevruz is one of the most significant cultural festivals that have a history of more than five thousand years, is considered to be the holiest day of the Turkic world and is celebrated with lively activities. As the beginning of a new year, the festival symbolizes rebirth and it is an occasion for wishes, hopes and expectations for the future. Therefore, it is a very particular festival that might be unique in the world. With Nevruz, not only the nature is born again and renews itself with zeal. People are also cleansed and renewed both physically and spiritually. People’s emotions and ideas are also renewed with the beginning of a new year. Therefore, Nevruz represents the joy of nature’s renewal as well as faith in mankind and best wishes.
The day considered by ancient Turks and Persians as New Year’s Eve was called ‘‘Nevruz’’ in Persian, meaning ‘‘new day’’. The day when the sun enters Aries and the night and day become equally long corresponds to March 21 on the Gregorian calendar. Featuring in the 12-Animal Turkic Calendar, the first calendar used by Turks, Nevruz is a very old tradition and has been celebrated with various rituals as it is today. According to the Jalali Calendar elaborated for the Seljuk Sultan Malik Shah, the day when the sun enters Aries was accepted as the beginning of a new year. It is known that Seljuk rulers came to the throne in March and that they celebrated Nevruz with the people. The spring festival of Nevruz, which symbolizes the good and the beautiful as well as happiness and peace, has been traditionally celebrated across a vast region. Its history is as old as the history of mankind. Today it is celebrated in a region extending from China to the Balkans in similar ways, under different names. After gaining their independence, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan declared March 21 a public holiday.
Various legends and religious beliefs about Nevruz emphasize a movement from closed spaces to outdoors as well as the longing for sun, warmth and abundance. A striking feature that is common to all these myths is the desire to attain peace and tranquillity by changing the present circumstances. Such elements present in legends and beliefs as the birth of fire, melting the mountains and ploughing fields and domesticating animals represent the discovery of fire by man during the Ice Age, the transition into the Chalcolithic Age and the entry into the Neolithic Age respectively. Other elements of Nevruz tales such as fire, water, earth and caves are common to all humanity and indispensible in mankind’s history. However, fire is of particular significance for Turks regardless of their religion or faith. In the cultures of a wide spectrum of Turkic peoples ranging from the Altai, to Tatars and from Azeris to the Karaites and to the Gagauz, fire and water are necessary for physical and spiritual purification. Therefore, it is a tradition preserved throughout the vast Turkic geography to light a bonfire and jump over it while making wishes during Nevruz.