Nawroz, the solar new year, was celebrated in a different way this year in the northern province of Balkh, as no “flag hoisting” happened after the government said it will not officially celebrate Nawroz festival.
The festival was celebrated in past years with the presence of government officials and thousands of people including foreigners attending the ceremony.
A special ceremony of Janda Bala (flag hoisting) was traditionally held at Rawza-e-Mubarak (Hazrat Ali Shrine) in the provincial capital of Mazar-e-Sharif, but this year no such celebration took place.
“This year, unfortunately there was no flag hoisting. This is a tradition which has been performed for thousands of years,” said Ahmad Sharif, a resident of Balkh.
“Nawroz was a glorious ceremony in the past years in Mazar-e-Sharif. This is the tradition of the people,” said Mirwais, a resident of Badakhshan who came to Mazar-e-Sharif to attend the festival.
However, many influential Afghan leaders in a greeting message welcomed the new year (Nawroz) and wished the Afghans a happy year ahead.
Faqir Hossein, 72, came from Kabul to take part in the festival of Nawroz.
“Everyone was trying to be part of the flag hoisting event. They were chanting “Allah Akbar" with happiness,” he said.
The people who came to Mazar-e-Sharif to attend the ceremony of the new year said they wished the festival would have been held.
Provincial officials said there are many other programs including sports.
“The department of information and culture have many programs including buzkashi, and poetry competitions,” said Ata Mohammad Saho, head of the provincial department of information and culture.
Nawroz was previously also celebrated with many festivals including music, cultural and sports events and various types of exhibition.
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