Preparations for the Navrouz festival are progressing in the southern city of Nurek.

According to the Nurek administration, President Emomali Rahmon will arrive in Nurek on March 20 and attend celebrations dedicated to the Navrouz festival.   

A theatrical show with participation of Tajik known artistes will take place at the central square of Nurek, an official source at the Nurek administration told Asia-Plus in an interview.  

While in Nurek, the head of state will also get acquainted with the socioeconomic situation of the city and inaugurate a number of new economic and social facilities in the city, the source added.   

Recall, a festive carnival dedicated to Navrouz will be held in the Tajik capital this year for the first time.  According to the Dushanbe administration the event will take place at Dushanbe’ central square on March 21.  Besides, festive concerts will be held in all Dushanbe’s districts on March 21.  

Meanwhile, theatrical show, dubbed Ganji Navrouz, will be held at the Navrouzgoh Complex in the evening of March 22.  The theatrical show will end with fireworks.

Gushtingiri (traditional Tajik wrestling) contests and horse races will take place at the Navrouzgoh Complex on March 23 and 24.     

Navrouz, which literary means New Day in Persian, Dari and Tajik languages, is the traditional Iranian new year holiday, celebrated by Iranian and many other peoples.  It marks the first day of spring and is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox (the start of spring in the northern hemisphere), which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed.  Today, the festival of Navrouz is celebrated in many countries, including Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, as well as Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.  Many peoples in West and South Asia, Northeast China, the Crimea, as well as Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia also celebrate this holiday.

In September 2009, the UN's cultural agency, UNESCO, included Navrouz in its list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.  On February 23, 2010, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the International Day of Navrouz.