Ban appeals for world solidarity, peace, renewal on International Day of Nowruz

21 March 2014

At this time of global change, when all societies face new pressures, the need for solidarity between all people and harmony with the planet has never been more essential, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, calling on the international community to promote these essential values in the spirit of the annual spring festival of Nowruz.

“Nowruz is a time when millions of people from Western, Central and South Asia and other regions around the world come together, as they have for over 3,000 years, to celebrate the New Year and first day of spring,” said the UN chief in his message on the International Day of Nowruz.

Originating in Iran's ancient history, Nowruz is celebrated by more than 300 million people worldwide on 21 March, the day of the spring equinox, which marks the sun's crossing of the Equator and the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

For more than three millennia, people in the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Middle East, among other regions, have observed Nowruz through their own special traditions.

In 2010, the UN General Assembly declared 21 March as the International Day of Nowruz. The holiday was also added to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity administered by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Mr. Ban said that Nowruz is a reminder of the values and aspirations we all share for peace through tolerance, respect and mutual understanding.

“Expressed in a rich array of ways across the world, Nowruz embodies the power of cultural heritage to build bridges between people,” he continued, adding that festival also celebrates diversity as a strength and as the foundation for a more peaceful and sustainable world.

“On this International Day of Nowruz, I call on every woman and man to carry forward this message of peace, unity and renewal that stands at the heart of the mission of the United Nations and at the heart of the Nowruz celebrations.”

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