BBC Afghan Service to Celebrate Nowruz

In a four-hour radio special on Saturday 21 March 2015, BBC Afghan service will bring together BBC World Service’s multilingual journalists for a celebration of Nowruz, the spring equinox, which marks the beginning of new year for nations across a vast region.

Nowruz is a spring festival celebrated by more than 300 million people around the world. Dating over 3,000 years back, it is part of the cultural heritage for an extensive and diverse region - from Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkey and the Balkans to central Asia and Afghanistan, Pakistan and Northern India. Marked by the UN as the International Day of Nowruz, this holiday of the 'new day', spring and renewal has many regional variations such as Nowruz, Novruz, Navruz, Nawruz, Norooz, Nauryz, Nooruz, etc.

BBC Afghan service’s four-hour radio programming in Pashto, Dari and Persian, from 01.30 GMT on Saturday 21 March will include interviews, reports, music and interactive slots with listeners across the region celebrating the first hours of spring.

BBC Afghan service’s Spin Tanay and Ali Arian will link with BBC Persian presenters Ali Hamedani and Nazanin Javid, BBC Urdu’s Aneela Khalid in Peshawar and BBC Persian’s Neda Kargar in Ankara. BBC Central Asian service’s Luiza Khudaykulova in London will discuss the Nowruz celebrations in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Meena Baktash, Editor of the BBC Afghan service, says: “The Afghan service is bringing its audiences the diversity of this wonderful holiday which unites people in hope for a new, better life. We are using BBC World Service’s strong presence in the countries in the region and our multilingual journalism to highlight the deep roots, the colours and the vibrancy of this beautiful holiday to our audiences.”

The programme will be streamed live via the websites bbcpashto.com, bbcpersian.com, bbcpersian.com/afghanistan and bbcurdu.com. The Nowruz content also will feature on the websites bbcazeri.com, bbckyrgyz.com and bbcuzbek.com.