Uzbeks consider spring to be time of renewal, and invest great expectations and hopes in the advent of this season. The spring holiday Navruz is the incarnation of all this. The holiday is celebrated on March 21st, the day of the vernal equinox, although festivities last for a full month. Navruz has been a folk holiday for over 2,500 years, although only recently became a national holiday, celebrated with great enthusiasm by people of all the ethnic groups.
A few days before Navruz, people usually arrange khashar (voluntary and joint public work), during which they clean and decorate their cities, towns and villages. Sumptuous meals are a big part of the holiday, the main dish of which is undoubtedly the ritual sumalyak. The residents of Uzbekistan can have it only once a year, so it's a great experience for visitors to sample on this special occasion. Sumalyak is made from sprouts of wheat grains, symbolizing eternal life, has the consistency of a thick cream, with a pleasant, distinctive taste. According to tradition, the first 13 days after Navruz are harbingers of the remainder of the year, so people forgive each other offences, spring clean their houses, and assist the poor, lonely and sick.
Date: 21 March 2013