Flag-hoisting ceremony held in Mazar-i-Sharif
MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): The traditional flag-hoisting (Janda Bala) ceremony, marking the new solar year, was held in Mazar-i-Sharif, the centre of Nawroz festivities, on Friday.
Thousands of men, women, children, government officials and foreign dignitaries attended the ceremony at the Hazrat Ali Shrine in the capital of Balkh province.
In his remarks, Governor Atta Mohammad Noor congratulated the participants, hoping that the new year would bring peace and prosperity to Afghanistan.
Police spokesman Col. Sher Jan Durrani told Pajhwok Afghan News tight security arrangements had been put in place for the festival. The number of security personnel deployed around the city has doubled from 3,000 in 2013 to 6,000 this year.
Information Minister Makhdoom Amin Raheen highlighted the history of Nawroz, asking the people to participate in the festivities. He also underlined the need for free and fair elections to instill confidence in the masses.
Nawroz celebrations date back to more than 3,000 years and the occasion is also marked in other countries such as Iran, Turkey, India, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
On Nawroz, Afghans wear new clothes and exchange gifts. In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly formally recognised the International Day of Nawroz.
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