Samarkand

Breakfast is in the hotel.

Visit to the place of celebration of the national festival “Navruz”.

“Navruz” in Persian means “new day”, or “a new day of the new year”, to be precise. This day is celebrated on March 21st, which is on the day of vernal equinox, and it symbolizes the beginning of a calendar year.

As any celebration of the new year day, Navruz is, first of all, a merry festival. But unlike European New Year Day, Navruz is celebrated in the daytime.

Various and plentiful meal is the height of the festival, which is held in the hope of the coming profitable and bumper-crop year. On the day of the festival different national dishes are served up: pilov (meat dish with rice), shurpa (vegetable soup), boiled mutton or beef, kuk-samsa (patty with greens) and sweet nishalda (dessert made of eggs whisked with sugar). But the culmination of the holiday is sumalak – a ritual meal, which citizens of our republic can taste once a year, whereas the guests, very likely, can do it once in their life. Sumalak is made from flour and wheat sprouts, which are the symbols of eternal life. It is notable that sumalak-making process is accompanied by women’s singing of special short verses, dancing, joking and telling stories.

 These days in many cities and villages of Uzbekistan colorful festivals and cheerful celebrations of the spring holiday Navruz are held. During the trip, tourists can get a chance to take part in crowded folk festivals and bustling street fairs; feel the true spirit and atmosphere of the Eastern holiday; try a variety of delicious national dishes, which are specially prepared only during the celebration of Navruz; will be able to watch competitions in the national Uzbek sport of Kurash, during which the palvans (wrestlers) will fight with each other for valuable prizes. An integral part of the spring holiday is also the conduct of cock and ram’s fights and traditional Uzbek games, such as chillak, kupkari, tug of war and others. On street squares, street acrobats and circus performers often perform. If guests are lucky enough to get to these festive events, they can watch the wonders of the sleight of street rope-walkers (darvozov), the services of clowns and strongmen.

Overnight is in Samarkand.