In modern time, friendship, tolerance and moral human values have become the missing link in the international life and human ties. In conditions where the big powers in their slogans and in practice “give priority to their countries” and want security, welfare and stability only for their own people and ignore the values and wants of other nations, and keep hitting the drum of selfish national interests, it seems the international community more than ever needs spiritual and moral restoration. Indeed, the world nations need a cultural supermodel in which there is not talk of mere selfishness , self-centricity and self-help, and gives the world a more moral and human color and coating.
Based on this, it can be dare said that the “Nowruz Rituals” , due to direct contact with nature, life and general human features, have the potential and can be an impacting cultural factor on the international relations arena. The Nowruz tradition and festivities are a symbol of Iranian old culture, which though has an old age, it is still standing and its hidden traditions and norms have passed from generation to generation. Emphasis on ethical values, spread and strengthening of human ties and philanthropy, giving importance to nature and the Environment, belief in possibility of change and betterment, emphasis on hygiene and cleanliness are among the outstanding characteristics of the Nowruz culture, which give it global impact.
Of course, this is not the mere claim of Iranians; the influencing potential and importance of this ritual is to the extent that on February 23, 2010, the UN General Assembly approved a resolution and named march 21 as “Nowruz World Day.” Thus for the first time in the history of the organization, Nowruz was recognized as an international ceremony.
Even before that, the Nowruz dossier was registered at the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List in October 2009 by 7 civilizational countries (Iran, Azerbaijan, India, Kirghizstan, Pakistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan) of the Nowruz sphere and in 2014 at the addition request of 5 other countries(Afghanistan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan) it was again registered; a process which shows the great capacities of this event in bonding nations together.
Nowruz, as an ancient festivity, has had a special status in the history and culture of the region’s countries; the Nowruz sphere countries have enjoyed since long ago old historical relations in various areas and though their ties in recent years have gone through various ups and downs, the Nowruz festivity has been an excuse for strengthening friendships and spread of relations among the nations and countries of the region. Nowruz ushers in the human message that with nature all coldness, hostilities and problems could be put aside and everything rebuilt. We can be as kind as Mother Nature and wish generosity, development and welfare for not only one specific area and ethnic group, but for all humanity and the living.
Giving importance to these human and moral values in the international relations can always lay grounds for peace and stability; because by prioritizing these common traditions alongside collective goals and interests, we can reduce selfishness and prevent discord; the countries holding Nowruz festivities can by relying on common rituals of this ancient festivity move toward cooperation agreements, peace and friendship among one another and other regional states and become a model for convergence. Meanwhile, the expansion of Nowruz tourism can strengthen the economies of the countries of this sphere.
Based on this, the Nowruz sphere countries can, due to their understanding of their joint identity, move towards regionalism, and by this increase their interactions in every area. Despite regionalism with political-security goals, in this type of regionalism there is more solidity and the value-cultural cornerstones give it a longer and more stable age. As a result, the Nowruz civilizational sphere has many potential capacities for cooperation and shaping the world culture, which must take an operational aspect by the efforts of these countries’ leaders.
Thus, look to Nowruz should and could not be a limited, closed and national one; for the Islamic Republic of Iran which has civilizational claims and has always been trying to shape a native and introspective regional order (without interference from foreign powers), this ancient tradition is a proactive start for playing roles, producing culture and making norms on the regional and world stage; a matter which will get nowhere by mere slogan and talk and requires strategic thought, planning and purposed development of cooperation and relations with the regional countries.
Dr.Mohammadmehdi Mazaheri, University Professor
(The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IPIS)