The oldest festival Novruz (“Novruz bayrami”) is celebrated on March 21, at the time of the vernal equinox.

Novruz (New-Ruz, Naw-Ruz) - Spring Festival, or the New Year. The word ‘Nauruz’ consists of two Persian words ‘nau‘(new) and ‘ruz’ (day) - the first day of the initial important festival of the Aryans. It is celebrated during the last several millenniums. The meaning of this holiday is that exactly on the vernal solstice, when the length of day and night is 12 hours, the interaction of nature and man achieves perfect harmony: a period of awakening and renewal. Novruz is the beginning of a new year and is a tradition based on the relationship between man and nature.

Novruz generally is something more than just a holiday. During many centuries of Novruz celebration there is belief that nature will be more generously with people when the holiday will be brightly and happily celebrated. Therefore, on this day people sing ritual songs of Novruz, dancing and having fun, enjoy the coming of spring, give each other gifts, and help the orphans and the destitute. Nature begins to come alive in these days: the trees bloom, people wake up and take off their grey winter coats, greenery appears everywhere and people start cooking dishes made of herbs.

Here's how Greek chronicler Strabo was described the celebration of Novruz: ‘From the most ancient times and to the present day inhabitants of Mesopotamia are gathering together on that day in the Temple of Fire; and this day is the most honored holiday, when traders close their shops, artisans stop working. Everyone have a good time, treat each other drinks and foods, which touched on a fire’. 

From the ancient times fertile oasis of Uzbekistan on Novruz festivities was celebrating the holiday with organization of street festivities, big bazaars, horse racing, dog and cock fights. But the general holiday custom is "sumalak" - a New Year’s dish cooked in wood-fire and made of flour and germinated wheat grains, sometimes with spices. Sprouted grains are a symbol of life, warmth, abundance and health. This celebration is festive of awakening of nature and start of sowing works, preserved in its ritual features of Zoroastrianism.sumalak2

It is considered that Sumalak needs to be cooked with songs and humorous, fun melodies, and telling funny stories and various legends.

It is needed to throw a few pebbles and walnuts into the cauldron due to avoid Sumalak burning.

When legendary dish is ready it’s became sweet, although there is no a single gram of sugar put on it.

And if someone finds a nut or a pebble in his/her dish, this means that all his/her sincere desire will come true.

Furthermore Khalis festive dish is used to be cooked too for the holiday. Khalis - it is some mix of meat and wheat, cooked in a cauldron during all night, until it turns to cooked cereal. After cooling, the dish is served to the table.

It’s needed to prepare sprouted wheat, halva, “bichaki” (traditional cakes) with spinach, samsa, raisins, dried apricots and other sweets for the festive table. According to tradition, it is needed to congratulate the parents first; then - other members of family, and all together they go then to the square where the festivities are organized due to greet friends, relatives and neighbors. It is needed on holiday to forgive and apologize to those who have been offended.

The most popular event of the day is ‘kupkari’ (another name is ’ulok’) - the game which is rather like polo, but with using a goat carcass instead of a ball. This is not a game of aristocrats, but just a game of skilful horsemen. It is also provided a prize for the winner.

Novruz is celebrated in all parts of Uzbekistan and it is an official holiday.

Novruz - means "new day", "New World" - New Year.