Afghanistan: ‘Nowruz festival and the spring offensive’

NowruzEditorial: The Afghan people have celebrated Nowruz, first day of the new solar year with enthusiasm across the country without any security hazards as they were fully trusted in the strong wings of the Afghan security force to maintain security for them during the celebration. Nowruz is celebrated widely in Afghanistan. One day after Nowruz, Afghanistan celebrates Famer’s Day nationwide by holding ceremonies and displaying agricultural products and livestock. The Guli Surkh festival which literally means (Red Flower Festival) is the principal festival for Nowruz. This festival celebrates in Mazar-i-Sharif during the first 40 days of the year when the Tulip flowers grow in the green plain and on the hills surrounding the city.

Not only in Afghanistan, but Nowruz, one of the biggest festivals celebrated in Iran, Iraq, the Central Asian republics, marking the first day of spring and the beginning of the year. Without any doubt, Nowruz festival holds more significance and importance in the lives of Afghans, as it was banned under the Taliban rule. Taliban regime was the darkest period in the history of Afghanistan, and their atrocity is very much visible for us all. Anyways, in this day, people wearing new clothes, refurbish their house; paint the buildings, going to shrine by taking this day as a new beginning with lots of hope. Moreover, family members came to gather under one roof to celebrate this day by cooking traditional Afghan meals such as the popular Qabuli Pialu, a rice dish mixed with caramelized raisins and carrots, and haft-mewa, the sweet Nowruz dessert made with seven symbolic dried fruits. One of other customs of Nowruz is to exchange house visits during which guests are served tea, pastries, nuts and fruits. People also exchange gifts and money to congratulate each other on this day. Moreover, in 2009, Nowruz was officially registered in the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

However, despite the celebration of the New Year, the war-turn Afghans which was one of the happiest and developed in South Asia, is also worried of the spring offensive. At somehow they undergo that insurgent outfits with support of major regional players would not hesitate an inch to target civilians. It is crystal clear that last year was full of sad news. Civilian casualties in the war are unabated. Minorities were attacked by global and regional terrorist organizations. In a nutshell it was deadliest year both for combatants and non-combatants. Moreover, last year was also bloodiest for journalists. Women were also not out of these miseries as violence against them was at peak. Regardless of heart-wrenching incidents, the Afghan masses would never give up for having a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. Sign of hope with hard working are budding on o daily basis among Afghans, especially to young generation. Hope is still alive in Afghanistan, but much work remains in war on terror.

THE PASHTUN TINES

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