Spring festival celebrates a world of difference

A celebration of more than 3,000 years of traditions, customs and festivity is to be held at the University of Leicester.

Newroz, (or Novruz, Nauryz) is a celebration of New Year across many different cultures in the Middle East and include parts of Central Asia, Caucasus, South Asia, Northwestern China, the Crimea and some groups in the Balkans.

The event on 17 March at our Fraser Noble Building on London Road is hosted by the Kurdistan International Studies Unit and the Kurdish Students Society of University of Leicester. Lord Mayor, Councillor Rashmikant Joshi will be in attendance.

Newroz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in a number of calendars. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year and families gather together to observe the rituals. However, for the Kurdish people, Newroz also means struggle, resilience for survival and collective democratic rights. For this reason the celebration is the biggest festival for the Kurdish world.

To celebrate the occasion a panel discussion will take place entitled 'What does Newroz mean to people?' There will be traditional Kurdish tea and sweets, a Kurdish local singer and dancing.

Dr Omer Tekdemir, a Principal Investigator and co-organiser of the cultural project, said: “The United Nations (UN) accepted the Newroz as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, this multinational New Year Day is celebrated by many different communities, but it has a different social, cultural and political meaning for the each of them.”