Navruz - A Celebration of Life. Public holidays in Uzbekistan — страница 2

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sentiments. As with the celebration of the Chinese New Year, there are traditions associated with the first visitor to the house during Navruz. To ensure good luck for the coming year, this person should have a "happy foot"; he or she should be kind, gentle, witty, pious and have a good reputation. In Iran and small communities of Kurdistan, Iran and Northern India, where Zoroastrism has retained a strong influence amongst the populace, traditions require that the Navruz celebratory table contain specific elements. First, there must be a mirror, which reflects the past and shows the future so that people can make reasonable plans. Next, there must be candles. The flames hark back to the sacred nature of fire in the Zoroastrian religion, and personify the light and

energy of a righteous life. The table must also contain an incense-burner for aromas and a water-filled vessel in which a live fish is placed to symbolize a happy life full of activity and movement. Most tables also include coins, fruit and a copy of a sacred book, such as the Koran. Various types of food and plants must be on the table, including seven dishes that begin with the Farsi letter "S" and seven dishes that begin with the letter "sh." These include vinegar, sumac berries, garlic, sprouted wheat, apples, berries of sea-buckthorn and fresh herbs as well as wine, sugar, syrup, honey, sweets, milk and rice. In the western provinces of China, both Turkish and Chinese people celebrate the holiday of Navruz by wearing bright cheerful clothes and going to

the temple with flowers and a small clay figure of a buffalo. A large bamboo buffalo is constructed near the temple and covered with paper painted in red, black, white, green and yellow, which symbolize the five elements of the universe (fire, water, metal, wood and earth). Near the temple people break clay figures down and burn the bamboo buffalo. Central Asia has its own Navruz traditions. From ancient times, the holiday was celebrated in agricultural oases with festivals, bazaars, horseracing, and dog and cock fights. Today, Uzbeks still serve a traditional meal of "sumalyak," which tastes like molasses-flavored cream of wheat and is made from flour and sprouted wheat grains. Sumalyak is cooked slowly on wood fire, sometimes with addition of spices. Sprouted grain is

the symbol of life, heat, abundance and health. On March 21, Kazakh and Kyrgyz households fumigate their homes with smoke from the buring of archa twigs (a coniferous tree of Central Asian that grows mainly in mountainous areas). This smoke is said to make malicious spirits flee. The main holiday dishes for Turkic Central Asians are pilaf, shurpa, boiled mutton and kok-samsa pies filled with spring greens and the young sprouts of steppe grasses. According to tradition, people try to make the celebratory table (dastarkhan) as rich as possible with various dishes and sweets. Everyone at the table should be full and happy to ensure that the coming year will be safe and the crop will be plentiful. The holiday is accompanied by competitions of national singers and storytellers, single

combats of horsemen and fights of strong men. Tadjiks, whose ethnic roots are more Persian than Turkic, have slightly different traditions. In a Tadjik household, the owner of a house or his elder sons must prepare fried shish kebab and a sweet pilaf made of rice and other cereals. These dishes symbolize the wish for the coming year to be as "sweet" and happy. Some mountain settlements have a special custom. Before the holiday, young men will try to secretly clear out the cattle shed of a prosperous man with a marriageable daughter. If they succeed, the owner must treat them generously; however, if they fail, they must treat the owner. In Afghanistan, Navruz is called "Ruz-e-Dekhkan," the Day of the Peasant, or "Ruz-e-Nekholshoni" the Day of Planting

Trees. Before going to their fields, farmers arrange parades with songs and dancing, and traditional instruments. The horns and necks of oxen that will be used for the first plowing of spring fields are sometimes rubbed with aromatic oil. In southern Russia, Bashkirs probably adopted the celebration of Navruz from Persian tribes that once lived in the Ural Valley. The weather in these territories is not yet springlike in late March, so the holiday is somewhat different than in other regions. First, young men in a community collect products for the making of a common meal and embroidered "prizes" for the winners of running, dancing and singing competitions that will be held. On the day of Navruz, ceremonies are performed to cajole natural forces and spirits of ancestors