Navruz which literally translates as ‘New Day’ is a four day holiday in Tajikistan. The festival originates from Iran, but it is widely celebrated across the central Asian countries. In Tajikistan it marks both the start of spring and the Tajik New Year. Festivities this year began on the 21st March, with schools and workplaces shut for the celebration days. Spring is now well underway with trees coming into blossom, and the barren hillsides showing signs of greenery with the snow-melt.
Each town across the country will host its own special celebrations to mark the holiday. This year Istaravshan held a music and dance concert in the Istaravshan FC stadium on Friday morning. I was one of the fortunate 20,000 people to make it inside, whilst many people flooded in the streets surrounding the stadium, unable to get in. A speech from the town governor was followed by nearly 2 hours of singing and traditional Tajik dancing, which was based around sowing seeds, spring and the new year. Clothing and costumes were all very traditional, each with a splash of vibrant colour.
A few of the photos from the event are below: