The Persian festival of Nowroz, [rooted in Zoroastrianism, a religion practiced in ancient Persia (now Iran) predating Christianity and Islam] and considered the first day of spring or Persian new year was observed in Kashmir valley on Tuesday.
As many cultural aspects of Kashmir have their roots in Iran, Both ‘sects’ of Islam; ‘Shias’ and ‘Sunnis’ observe this day with special customs.
However, due to the strong influence of Persian culture in Iran where Shias live in the majority- the festival carries more significance for the Shia community.
While Shias mark this day by preparing special cuisines of Fishes and Lotus stem (Nadur), Sunnis distribute (kaen-Sharbat) Basil drinks to the public.
“The feast is open to the public; we invite people either relatives or anyone walking on the streets to eat Nadir ti Gaadi (Fishes & Lotus Stem) at our houses and it gives us immense satisfaction,” said Shaheen who has been preparing these cuisines for two days.
“We also relate it to the religion as this day has other significance too,” she added.
Many countries across the world have been observing this festival for 3,000 years including the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East, and others. However, the celebration varies from culture to culture.