Nowruz marks the first day of Spring, celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs on March 21. AAFSW was honored to celebrate Nowruz on Tuesday, March 21, at the Burns Auditorium, in the State Department, with some of the world’s most ancient nations, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Türkiye, and Uzbekistan. Their Ambassadors shared and showcased these nations’ proud cultural heritage. In addition, the diplomatic members of these Embassies celebrated with the principal leadership of the U.S. government the talents and rich culture of their people and countries, who have, over the centuries, created and developed this rich heritage, encompassing the impact of ancient trade caravans and the Silk road.
Nowruz is celebrated as the beginning of the new year by more than 300 million people worldwide. It has been praised for over 3,000 years in the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East, and other regions. Inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as a cultural tradition observed by numerous peoples, Nowruz is an ancestral festivity marking the renewal of nature.
Nowruz plays a significant role in strengthening the ties among people based on mutual respect and the ideals of peace and good neighborliness. Its traditions and rituals reflect the cultural and ancient customs of the civilizations of the East and West, which influenced those civilizations through the interchange of human values. Celebrating Nowruz means affirming life in harmony with nature, awareness of the inseparable link between productive labor and natural cycles of renewal, and having a solicitous and respectful attitude towards natural sources of life. It means new day, variously known as Novruz, Nouwruz, Nooruz, Navruz, Nauroz, or Nevruz; its spelling and pronunciation may vary by country. Many countries officially celebrate it, including Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Every year senior U.S. officials congratulate countries that are celebrating this holiday. As an example, last year on March 17, an online event dedicated to the Nowruz holiday was held, which was organized by the embassies of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan and moderated by the Meridian International Center and the Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs.
(USAID) Administrator Samantha Power, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives Gregory Meeks, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Rebecca Zimmerman delivered congratulatory messages to Nowruz as high-ranking guests at the event.
On March 21, 2023, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman (video speech), U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Rebecca Zimmerman, Deputy Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development Anjali Kaur delivered their congratulatory messages to AAFSW ‘s members and over 200 hundred guests, promoting values of peace and solidarity among our nations.