Iran has hosted an event at the United Nations to celebrate Nowruz or the Persian New Year, with senior diplomats from the world body and a dozen Asian countries in attendance.
The annual festivities were held at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday, with Gholam-Ali Khoshroo, the Iranian Ambassador and permanent representative to the world body, as the host.
Among the senior guests at the celebrations were UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova as well as diplomats from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
This is while millions of Iranians are celebrating Nowruz, which marks the advent of spring. In harmony with the rebirth of nature, the Nowruz festivities always begin on the first day of spring, which has fallen on March 20 this year.
Along with Iranians, millions of others in countries such as Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Turkey also celebrate Nowruz.
Addressing the participants, Gholam-Ali Khoshroo described Nowruz as a “social and cultural” tradition, which has the message of “hope, happiness, livelihood and love.”
Nowruz offers the opportunity for the world to make collective efforts towards the achievement of sustainable development, the Iranian official said.
“In a world, where extremism and radicalism have led to wars, deaths and destruction, Nowruz carries the message of peace and toleration,” he stressed.
During the ceremony, the UN chief also felicitated the Iranian nation and other countries celebrating the arrival of spring, describing Nowruz as an ancient tradition with modern relevance.
Ban also highlighted the crises and human rights violations plaguing many world nations and said, “We must respond with compassionate action that addresses immediate suffering while tackling root causes.”
“Let us enable all people who celebrate Nowruz to celebrate with joy and meaning – and let us spread its essential message of hope and renewal around the world,” he said in his message.
In a separate message to the event, the UNESCO chief also hailed Nowruz as “an outstanding manifestation of how living cultural heritage expresses the way we understand the world and the means by which we shape it for the good of all.”
In 2010, the United Nations recognized March 21st as the International Day of Nowruz, or the Persian New Year.