On International Day of Nowruz, Ban calls on world to celebrate its timeless values

21 March 2011
Nowruz celebration in Iran

The spirit of peace and harmony in Nowruz, the Persian spring festival marking the New Year, is more appropriate than ever at a time of upheaval and pressing concerns in much of the world, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

Mr. Ban called on people worldwide to “let the spirit of Nowruz prevail” in his message for the International Day of Nowruz, which is celebrated on 21 March each year. Nowruz means “new day” in Farsi and marks the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.

“Nowruz is a day for renewal,” the Secretary-General said. “It is an opportunity to reflect on the intimate links between people and the natural world. And it carries a strong message of peace and harmony between peoples of all cultures on the basis of mutual respect and understanding.

“These timeless values are at the heart of the mission of the United Nations, and are more relevant than ever as we grapple with such pressing global concerns as environmental degradation, human rights abuses, intolerance and armed conflict.”

An estimated 300 million people worldwide celebrate Nowruz, with traditions and rituals particularly strong in the Balkans, the Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions, the Caucasus, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East.

Nowruz is also inscribed on the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

This evening a special concert will be held at the General Assembly Hall at UN Headquarters in New York, featuring music, dance, costumes and rituals from the Turkic region, while the UN will also hold a tree planting ceremony at a park in Tehran, Iran.


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