Nevruz, a celebration of revival, rebirth and the spring
Nevruz is the traditional spring festival of Turkic peoples and communities living in Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, Albania, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Georgia, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Kirghizstan, Kosovo, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, India, Pakistan, Russia, Syria, Macedonia and Serbia.
In Turkey, Nevruz is a tradition and an official holiday. Among the Turks, the Nevruz is the celebration of the first migration of Turkish tribes out of the Ergenekon valley and a celebration of spring. Nevruz is celebrated with more fanfare in cities with more Kurdish population.
For the Turks, customs are very similar to what is done in other countries; major cleaning and preparation of dishes that will be shared during the many visits between relatives and neighbours. The second day is devoted to the visiting the graves of family members. At night, big parties are organized between families and neighbours.
Nevruz has a strong connection to the Kurdish legend of Kawa the Blacksmith. According to the legend, the evil Asurian king Zohak used to sacrifice every morning two young men to feed his monsters the victims brains. Legend has it that three knights dressed as doctors, spared a victim. The survivor fled into the mountains. At the end of the reign of Zohak, a blacksmith named Kawa who already lost his sixteen sons to King Zohak revolted when his last child was captured.
Having managed to infiltrate the castle Zohak, Kawa freed his people from the yoke of tyranny. Everywhere people lit bonfires and danced around to celebrate the death of the tyrant and celebrating the feat of Kawa which turned into Nevruz celebration.
In Kazakhstan, spring cleaning, wearing beautiful clothes and exchanging gifts and food with neighbours are part of the celebration. Kazakhs also jump over the fire to be free of disease and social problems in order to start a new year on the right foot.
In Uzbekistan, carousels, street vendors and musicians fill the streets of the country for a week. Sporting and cultural activities are organized: cockfighting, wrestling, horse racing and many others.
In Azerbaijan, Nevruz is taking place from March 21 to 23. Azerbaijani Turks would first visit cemeteries to pray for their dead. They would also feed the poor on the day. Moreover, the custom of spring cleaning is also found in Azerbaijan. Nevruz is also a party for children, as they would go having fun visiting neighbours and friends singing songs to receive painted eggs of all colours.