Residents of Kabul called for the celebration of Nawroz as the government said it does not intend to officially celebrate the first day of the 1401 solar year.
Nawroz is the first day of solar year and is usually celebrated by the people and governments of some regional countries – but this year there will be no official festival for celebration of Nawroz in Afghanistan.
Former president Hamid Karzai issued a greeting at the start of solar year 1401, in which he called on citizens to send their daughters and sons to school and said his wish was for stronger unity among Afghans.
Many people gathered in Karta-e-Sakhi, in western Kabul city, to celebrate the festival, but numbers of participants were significantly lower than in previous years.
“There was a large crowd in the past with many visitors coming here. There were hotels and canteens,” said Juma Khan, a resident of Kabul.
“Everyone was gathering and having parties. But this year—it is very different and I cannot think it is a new year,” said Nooria, a resident of Kabul.
The Islamic Emirate said it will not officially celebrate the Nawroz festival.
“Off course, the Islamic Emirate supports the issues which fit into Sharia and Islamic values. Our citizens must adhere to whatever Islam says,” Islamic Emirate’s Spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said.
“If the officials of the current government want to cancel this festival, I encourage them to not do so because this is one of the main cultural festivals of the country and we respect it. If they want to eliminate this, I believe it contravenes cultural values,” said Shoban Rafat, a resident of Kabul.
The people of Afghanistan make preparation for the celebration of Nawroz festival every year. In the previous years, a huge festival was being held by the government to celebrate the new year in Rawza-e-Mubarak Museum in the northern province of Balkh. This year there is no official celebration, but preparations were still made by locals.
“I work here and cleaned Rawza-e-Mubarak Museum. I have cleaned from morning to noon,” said Gul Chehrai, a worker at Rawza-e-Mubrarak Museum.