Amid tight security from Afghan National Security Forces, the Nowruz, or “New Day,” opening ceremonies welcomed in the 1395 New Year in Kabul, March 20, 2016.
The “Jahenda Bala”, a flag raising ceremony, commemorating the colors of the banner that Hazrat Ali raised in battle for Islam has been carried out by Kabul inhabitants earlier in morning.
During the years when the Taliban ruled in Afghanistan, Nowruz was not celebrated due to the thought that it was a pagan holiday centered on fire worship.
Ever since the liberation of Afghanistan in 2001 by coalition forces, Afghans have traveled from throughout the country to Mazar-e Sharif, Kabul and other large cities to celebrate the national holiday.
The observance of Nowruz dates back to more than 3,000 years and the holiday is celebrated in many other countries such as Iran, Turkey, India, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan just to name a few.
On Nowruz, Afghans dress in new clothes and exchange gifts with one another; first with the young giving gifts to the old, and then the old passing them to the young.
It is said that how you live on Nowruz will determine what type of year you will have, meaning if you do good deeds and participate in family gatherings peacefully, then you will have a year full of the same.
One of most famous of Nowruz traditions among Afghans is to forget and forgive mistakes of one another and start the New Year with new hopes and new goals.
During the first three days of the year, families and relatives meet and visit each other’s houses. These are parts of Afghan traditions that date back centuries.
Jashni Dehqan, which literally means the festival of farmers, is also celebrated in the first day of year, in which the farmers walk in the cities as a sign of encouragement for the agricultural productions.
This year, all Afghans are hoping to start a good year with changes and improvement in security issues.