Bringing Communities Together Through Shared Celebration Celebrating an Afghan-Tajik Nowruz

20 March 2023, Bokhtar – Tajik citizens and Afghan refugees gathered in celebration of their shared traditional holiday: Nowruz, welcoming the warm days of Spring and marking the Persian New Year.

IOM in cooperation with UN Women, and with support from the Migration Multi-Partner Trust Fund and the European Union, worked to bring communities and families together for Nowruz who may themselves be far from home, or who or who may be missing family members who will not be home for the holidays.

The full day event showcased a combination of Tajik and Afghan music and dance, theatre productions on the shared Nowruz traditions. The highlight was the Sumanak preparation; an ancient tradition which involves preparing germinated wheat into a sweet paste for over a week. Afghans and Tajiks alike gathered around the large pot, accompanied by traditional music from both cultures, to stir the Sumanak and cast their wishes for the coming year.

The floor was also opened for a Q&A with local and national government representatives to raise their concerns and needs on topics on human rights, migrants’ rights, safe migration, gender violence, rights of landowners.

For migrants and migrant-sending families all around the world, it can be difficult to celebrate traditional holidays abroad; far from family and friends but coming together to celebrate with new communities deepens cultural connections and form new shared customs.

“We are celebrating the New Year together far from our homeland with the honorable nation of the Republic of Tajikistan; and today's event has renewed our hope. We have been able to proudly display our shared customs and cultures with our Tajik brothers and sisters, in the hope that one day we will celebrate the new year again in Afghanistan. Thank you.”

For more information, please contact: Elizabeth Linklater (


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