Islamabad - A daylong Nowruz celebrations marking the arrival of spring were held here at Lok Virsa premises on Saturday.

Executive Director Dr Fouzia Saeed while welcoming the guests said that the main objective to celebrate Nowruz is to introduce the age-old colourful cultural event to the people of Pakistan, especially the youth. She further added that Lok Virsa being a national torchbearer for the promotion and preservation of intangible and tangible cultural heritage of the country believes in promoting activities which aim to unify cultural diversity and help bring the communities closer.

The major features of the Nowruz celebrations included an artisans-at-work display, folkloric performances, Silk Route Korovan (singing and dancing), traditional cuisine, documentary and others.

The Embassy of Afghanistan also participated in Lok Virsa’s Nowruz celebrations with full enthusiasm by setting up a stall exhibiting their crafts, dresses and food items. A group of five musicians/singers spellbound the visitors.

A large number of people from different walks of life attended the event and enjoyed the delightful performances of the participating folk artists, musicians and performers. Stage performances featuring folkloric songs and dances were also held.

Nowruz means “New Year”. Pakistan celebrates this spring festival with its neighbouring countries like Afghanistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Tajikistan and other Central Asian states.

Nowruz is celebrated in Pakistan in Balti, Shina, Burushaski, Wakhi and Khawar speaking communities (Gilgit-Baltistan), Chitral, Hangu and Peshawar (Khyber Pakhtunkwa), Kurram Agency (FATA), Hazaras (Balochistan), Ismailis and Parsis (Sindh) and select communities in Kashmir & Punjab.

There are special rituals for the celebration followed by spell-bounding dance performances, songs, traditional games and dishes.

This year Pakistan was officially included in UNESCO’s list of countries that celebrate Nowruz in the world.