Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
& CULTURAL NEWS OF IRANIAN WORLD©
in the Iranian World: Afghanistan
24 March 2006
(CAIS) -- In
Afghanistan, New Year is pronounced Nawrooz, which literally means new day and
is one of the oldest holidays celebrated in former Iranian provinces in Central
Asia. In Afghanistan the New Year begins on March 21 and is celebrated with
community gatherings and special meals.
Within each group Afghans from vastly different provinces
are mingling with a degree of ease that is notable in a nation still struggling
to forge a national identity after years of regional conflict.
That sense of community was one of the few uplifting
aspects of the Chila Khana. A large fenced-off out door nock in Mazar-e- Sharif
shrine’s western wall, the Chila Khana or House of Forty, is reserved for the
most seriously ill and disabled of worshipers. According to tradition, those who
sleep here each night will be cured of whatever ails them. Mazar Sharif (burial
of the Noble-one) is believed to be the burial city of Asho Zarathushtra.
A few days into Norouz, more than 100 pilgrims were
huddled there in a tableau of human misery.
Buzkashi matches are held during Norouz or Persian New
Year. Horsemen race each other while fighting for a headless goat carcass.
Buzkashi is said to date from the time of Mogul invasion of Iran. With their
Asiatic feature, high heeled boots and quilted jackets and sashes, the
professional players look as though they step out of another area, but they had
also accessorize their outfits with a few touches from Afghan’s more recent
past including olive green Soviet tanker’s helmets from 1980s and black
plastic knee pads that would have fit in with the rollerblades in Rock Creek
Every few minutes the scrum of horsemen whooshed by in a
blur of clattering hoofs, rearing horses and cracking whips. Then the announcer
would call out of the name of the player judged to have gained possession of the
carcass never an obvious choice and the winner ride up to receive a fistful of
cash from the sponsor of that round.
is the Light on the Path to Future"
British Institute of Persian Studies