On the 22nd of March the Association for Cultural Products and International Exchange "Spectrum 21", the Union of Bulgarian Journalists and the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies with the Ethnographic Museum – BAS and the media partnership of "Diplomatic spectrum"

organized a celebration under the motto "Show tradition! Give a holiday". The customs relating to Novruz were presented in the halls of the museum - the celebration of a new beginning, and the spring holidays of the Bulgarians. Among the many guests were: H. E. Ms. Ana Maria Sampaio Fernandes - Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federative Republic of Brazil; H. E. Ms. Sri Astari Rasjid - Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Indonesia; H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui - Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Morocco; H. E. Mr. Stefan Gorda- Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Moldova; H. E. Ms. Nadra Sayaf – Ambassadeur, Chargé Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic and diplomats from dozens of foreign missions in the country.

Ms. Ekaterina Pavlova, co-chairman of the association "Spectrum 21" and editor of "Diplomatic Spectrum" welcomed the guests with "Happy Novruz! Happy first day of spring!". And she said: "For several years the Association "Spectrum 21" together with the diplomatic missions in the country has organized events under the motto"Show tradition! Give a holiday". Our initiative aims to show the beauty and diversity of the Bulgarian holidays and traditions to representatives of foreign missions in the country, and vice versa - foreign holidays and traditions to the Bulgarian audience. A number of celebrations under this motto have already been conducted, different holidays or traditional crafts have been presented: Koleduvane, Baba Marta, Lazaruvane, Easter, pottery... The more vivid ones have been implemented under the patronage of the Embassy of Belarus, the Russian Federation, the French Republic, the Kingdom of Morocco and others.

This time, along with the Union of Bulgarian Journalists and the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum - BAS, we invited you to celebrate Novruz /Navruz, Nowruz/ - the oldest celebration of the New Year on earth, which is celebrated today by the eastern people on the vernal equinox and the first day of spring - a celebration so much awaited by the Bulgarians ..."

Ms. Snezhana Todorova, Chairperson of the Union of Bulgarian Journalists, also congratulated the participants and thanked all those who put their labor and talent to make this celebration happen.

Associate Professor Dr. Petko Hristov, director of the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum - BAS, welcomed the guests and introduced them to the charity campaign of the institute "Get to know the traditions, in order to love the people". The resources gathered from it will go to the creation of a modern educational center at the National Ethnographic Museum. See more HERE.

The anchorwoman of the celebration, who brought together the traditions of East and West, Asia and Europe, was the Cossack Gulmira Bakirova.

Novruz /Navruz, Nowruz/ has a special place in the culture of human civilization. It is believed that this is the oldest celebration of the New Year on earth. It is celebrated in different ways by various Eastern nations, but everywhere the important aspect is fire. And this day is always dedicated to family and friends, to festive meals, to dancing and singing. In 2009 Novruz was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, and in 2010 the UN General Assembly declared March 21st as the International Day of Novruz. Last year Association "Spectrum 21" and the Union of Bulgarian Journalists organized a roundtable on the theme "Novruz - a Celebration of a New Beginning". To find out more about it and about the celebration of Novruz in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan refer to HERE.

More on Nowruz in the Iranian civilization you can see HERE.

More about Navrez of the Crimean Tatars in Bulgaria and Romania refer to HERE:

All spring holidays of the Bulgarians are connected with the rebirth of nature - from Baba Marta to Easter. Therefore, some ritual elements are similar to those of Novruz. The Chief Assistant Eugenia Gruncharova from BAS paid special attention to The Bachelorette custom of the Lazarouvane, as she revealed to the guests the highlights of it.

The exceptional musicians from the Iranian folklore group "Ava" under the leadership of Ms. Saide Bageri Fard took special part in the celebration. The formation is from the province of Kermanshah, west of Iran. They play music typical of the folklore of the region. The group "Ava" has been working nearly 20 years and consists of 6 people. In Bulgaria they were invited by the Cultural representation of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the occasion of Nowruz.

Immediately after their performance, the Iranian poet Nabilah Masumi read his poems related to the holiday.

Students from the Center for Azerbaijani language and culture of the Sofia University with Director Mrs. Sofia Shigaeva-Mitreska, showed us the specifics of the holiday in Azerbaijan and made a comparison with the spring traditions in Bulgaria. They performed the Azerbaijani poem "Sultan of the festival".

Representatives of the Kazakh diaspora in our country revealed elements of the traditions in Kazakhstan. Ms. Gulmira Bakirova performed part of the song "Ataneken".

The dancers from the "Bulgarian Horo" Dance Club at the community center "Bacho Kiro" surprised us with Bulgarian dances associated with the spring holidays, while elements of the Lazaruvane were presented by the folk group at the community center "Mirosko Rajchev" in the village of Gorni Bogrov. Spring songs were sung by Momchil Chalakov from the village of Alino.

Finally, the guests enjoyed the wonderful Oriental dishes and specialties related to Novruz.

The event took place thanks to the support of the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Cultural representation of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kazakh Diaspora in Sofia.

Photos provided by the organizers:

Above: On the festive table for Nowruz in Iran there must be seven dishes starting with the letter "S".

First row: 1. The symbols of the festive table; 2. The opening of the festival from left to right: Associate Professor Dr. Petko Hristov - Director of the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum – BAS, interpreter, Ms. Ekaterina Pavlova - co-chairperson of the Association "Spectrum 21", Ms. Snezhana Todorova - Chairperson of the Union of Bulgarian Journalists, Ms. Gulmira Bakirova anchor woman of the event and Mr. Nabilah Masumi - Iranian poet; 3. Mr. Mohammad Ali Kiani - Cultural Counselor at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco - H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui and Mrs. Vusala Sadagova from the Embassy of Azerbaijan; 4. Ms. Gulmira Bakirova

Second row: 5, 6, 7 - Iranian folklore group "Ava" provoked the enthusiastic applause of the audience with their impressive performances; 8. Iranian poet Mr. Nabilah Masumi

Third row: 9. Lilia Yordanova and Elena Raleva, students from the Center for Azerbaijani language and culture of Sofia University, told the specifics of the holiday in Azerbaijan; 10. Elements from the lazaruvane were presented by folk group of the Community Center "MiroskoRajchev", Upper Bogrov village; 11 - 12. With Bulgarian dances associated with the spring holidays, surprised us the dancers from the Dance Club "Traditional dance" at the community center "BachoKiro"

Fourth row: 13. Among the guests were the ambassadors of Syria, Brazil, Indonesia; 14. The Ambassador of Moldova; 15. Assoc. Prof. Petko Hristov, Ms. Marganne Keremjani - violin and vocals of the Iranian folklore group "Ava" Ms. Ekaterina Pavlova, Ms. Saide Bageri Fard - leader of the group "Ava" and Mr. Mohammad Ali Kiani - cultural counselor at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran; 16. The director of the Center for Azerbaijani Language and Culture of the Sofia University Mrs. Sofia Shigaeva-Mitreska, Ms. Gulmira Bakirova, Mrs. Vusala Sadagova - Secretary of the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Mrs. Ekaterina Pavlova

Row Five: 17. H. E. Ms. Ana Maria Sampaio Fernandes - Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federative Republic of Brazil; the co-chairmen of the association "Spectrum 21" - Mrs. Ekaterina Pavlova and Mr. Hristo Paskalev – Pascal; and Ms. Nadra Sayaf - Ambassadeur, Chargé of the embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic; 18. H.E. Mr. Stefan Gorda - Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Moldova in our country, and his wife Lydia /center/ guest of the event; 19 -20. Eastern delights.