Tajikistan celebrates its Independence Day on 9 September. On this day Tajikistan got Independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Tajikistan officially the Republic of Tajikistan, is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and People’s Republic of China to the east. Tajikistan also lies adjacent to Pakistan but is separated by the narrow Wakhan Corridor. Tajikistan Independence Day History In 1924, the Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was created as a part of Uzbekistan, but in 1929 the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic (Tajik SSR) was made a separate constituent republic. The predominantly ethnic Tajik cities of Samarkand and Bukhara remained in the Uzbek SSR. Between 1926 and 1959 the proportion of Russians among Tajikistan’s population grew from less than 1% to 13%. In terms of living conditions, education and industry Tajikistan was behind the other Soviet Republics. In the 1980s, it had the lowest household saving rate in the USSR, the lowest percentage of households in the two top per capita income groups, and the lowest rate of university graduates per 1000 people. By the late 1980s Tajik nationalists were calling for increased rights. Real disturbances did not occur within the republic until 1990. The following year, the Soviet Union collapsed, and Tajikistan declared its independence. After independence, Tajikistan suffered from a devastating civil war which lasted from 1992 to 1997. Since the end of the war, newly-established political stability and foreign aid have allowed the country’s economy to grow. Trade in commodities such as cotton and aluminum wire has contributed greatly to this steady improvement. In Tajikistan about 20% of the population lives on less than US$1.25 per day. Tajikistan Independence Day Customs and Activities On this occasion, traditionally dressed Tajik girls zip by on a float during the Independence Day parade. They do not carry gold ingots, but chocolate. The Independence Day celebrations of Tajikistan is marked by a colorful cultural program, including dance performances by school children on Bollywood numbers. Apart from traditional dances, children perform to the tunes of Hindi movie songs, which are loved by people of Tajikistan.
National Unity Day, also known as Day of National Reconciliation, is a public holiday in Tajikistan celebrated on June 27. It commemorates the end of the Civil War in Tajikistan that lasted for five years and officially ended on June 27, 1997. In 1991, the Republic of Tajikistan proclaimed its independence from the Soviet Union. The first presidential elections in the newly independent republic were held on December 2, 1991. They were won by Rahmon Nabiyev. In March 1992, opposition members held demonstrations against the results of the elections. Fighting between opposition and pro-government militia evolved into a full-scale civil war that broke out in May 1992. Nabiyev was overthrown in September 1992, but fighting continued. Various opposition groups were supported by Afghanistan, Taliban factions and al-Qaeda, while the government was supported by Russia and Uzbekistan. During the war, from 50,000 to 100,000 people were killed and over 1.2 million citizens were displaced. On June 27, 1997, a ceasefire was finally signed. The anniversary of this event was declared a public holiday. National Unity Day in Tajikistan is marked with solemn ceremonies attended by government officials. President of Tajikistan usually congratulates the citizens on the occasion in a speech or an official message.
Celebration of Navruz in Tajikistan is an incredible eyeful in its beauty. On these festive days spring comes entirely to the ancient Tajik land and it may be finally seen in its fine splendor. The caressing sun cherishes the mountain peaks and lucid snowdrops fight their way through slobber. These first spring florets are the main harbingers of the festival. Traditionally, village children give them out as a symbol of the beginning of spring. Tajikistan prepares for Navruz in advance, first of all, spiritually: by paying debts and forgiving old insults. This day of the holiday, people put on clean clothing, symbolizing a complete expurgation. Rituals with fire dating back to Zoroastrian roots of the holiday are obligatory this day. All household should come round a bonfire or torch alight in sign of good hope against the best. By lunch time, hosts invite guests to festive table, served with the dishes traditional for Navruz holiday: sumanak (concoction from wheat sprouts), sambusa (sausage roll from puff-paste or rissole with greens), sabzi (vegetables) and so on. All in all, there should be seven ritual dishes beginning with “S”. Navruz is widely celebrated both in cities and villages. This day everybody goes to the main square to watch festive shows participated with singers, dancers and musicians. It is impossible to imagine the celebration of Navruz in villages without horserace, national sports contests, cockfighting, flying the kites and pigeons, and traditional goat snatching (buzkhkasi).
Perhaps, New Year in Tajikistan became a favorite, long-awaited and magic holiday as before, only the last few years. The country, which did not yet fully recover from the consequences of the civil war, has been devoid of all New Year joys for a long time. Today the situation is changing for the better: the holiday comes to cities, villages and every house… The cities’ streets are decorated with garlands, flashlights and other tinsels. Behind the windows of the houses one can see shadow-figures of New Year Trees and the courtyards smell with tasty flavor… The metropolitan authorities make every effort for the citizens to celebrate this holiday lively and memorably. The Dushanbe parks host festive events. And the metropolitan square “Dusti” where the largest New Year tree is installed became the place to hold a grandiose fair in day time and in the evening, to hold a festive concert with participation of Tajik pop stars, crowned with majestic fireworks.
This is one of the most honorable religious holidays for all Muslims celebrated 70 days after the Ramadan month when all the believers observe strict fastening. There is a legend about the roots of this holiday in the Holy Scripture. It says that Allah did not allow faithful Muslim by name Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail, by putting a ram on the Sacrificial Altar. Since that it is customary to sacrifice animals as a symbol of credo of God’s omnipotence and bowels of mercies. On Idi Kurbon the believers wear clean braws, go to mosques, slaughter a sacrificial lamb or calf, give out the meat to the poor – a part of the meat is given to poor relatives and the rest part is used to cook festive meals. This day it is customary to visit friends and relatives and receive guests.
Tajikistan is a mountainous country. Muffled with a thick snow layer during the winter time, the foothill mountains keep their snow-white cover for a long time, and only the first rays of spring sun are able to melt it, exposing… a small miracle: tiny lilac heads of snowdrops on thin stemlets. From time immemorial, this incontestable proof of coming of a long-awaited spring was a cause for great festival among the Tajiks. The first among the children, who found snowdrops (“boychechak in Tajik) germinated from the snow, is considered lucky. Following him the rest rural small fry ran to the mountains to pick up snowdrops and give them to their mothers, sisters, neighbors, and teachers – all the village women as a symbol of a resurgent life, youth and beauty. The women put the flowers to the eyes and give thanks to God that they lived to see the spring and treat the children with sweets, baked goods and fruits… This tradition is called “guldardoni” by the Tajiks. Then every family cooks traditional pilau which is also called as “Oshi Boychechak”. All the kinsfolk and friends gather for the treat. This festivity is a preparation for the main spring holiday – Navruz.
Spring snowdrops are accompanied by flowering of tulips. It falls on the summer season, when the mountains are already covered with a carpet of emerald green, on which the red, yellow, pink tulip buds, embroidered with a skillful hand, blossom … It’s so impressive that a whole holiday is dedicated to this event. Tajiks call it Sayri lola. This coincides with the time of the first harvest, which means that a richer harvest is a more bombastic holiday table. Traditionally, the center of the table is decorated with a dish made of pilaf, women also bake brown grilled cakes and spicy samsa, the table is served with ripe vegetables and fruits. Tajiks expect not only delicious food at the festival of Sayri Lola, but also “gushtingsiri”, contests in the national struggle of Tajikistan, organized by traditions on this day. In former times this competition was the main and hot-tempered entertainment of the year. And today “gushtingsiri” competes in beauty and perseverance with modern sports and collects a large number of admirers and scholars who come to Tajikistan even from abroad.
9 May is the date when people’s memory comes back again to those old and tragic events of the war period. It is impossible to remember them without tears of bitterness and happiness and only with thanks for the feats of arms and everybody’s self-abnegation, and those who did not come from the war. The Day of 9May is sacred for the Tajik people who lost over 300,000 soldiers in the Great Patronymic War. Every year, the President himself congratulates the war veterans at a solemn event held in Victory Park. Laying of wreath to the Quenchless Flame also takes place there. These days the war veterans are honored throughout the whole republic. All the military units, parks, squares host traditional meetings with the war veterans, concerts and tablefuls.
Tajikistan celebrates Mother’s Day on 8 March. “Our people posses an ancient culture of woman veneration”, the Tajiks themselves say, Once, in our country, there existed a spring holiday devoted to the cult of women. Today when our original traditions are reviving we consider this holiday as a continuation of the ancient cult”. Not only women but also men like this day. It cannot but to get into spirit of this fine day when the nature is flourishing and the beauty of our dear and darling women are flourishing even brighter. For them, this day means flowers and presents, tableful, cordial words and gallant acts. In Tajikistan, 8 March is an ancient festivity in modern way.