Uzbekistan celebrates New Year’s Day with a public holiday every 1 January, as does most of the rest of the world. However, the celebrations really begin on New Year’s Eve and reach a high point with the turning of the clock from 11:59pm on 31 December to midnight on 1 January.
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New Year’s Day is a time of resolutions and starting fresh for some, while for others it is spent recovering from a big, late night spent with friends and family.
In Uzbekistan, both Navruz and 1 January New Year’s Day are national holidays. Navruz, the Persian Spring Festival, is the traditional new year celebration of hundreds of millions of Central Asians spread across a handful of adjacent nations.
New Year’s Day according to the Gregorian Calendar is a more modern, Western “innovation”, but still one that Uzbeks look forward to with great intensity. Every year, a “new year’s tree” is erected in Taskent’s main square. It is draped in lights, reflective balls, and beautiful garlands. At midnight, the famed Taskent clock chimes out the news that a new year has arrived, and the crowds are thrilled.
Just following New Year’s Day, children come to city squares to meet “Grandfather Frost”, the Eastern version of Santa Claus. There are also a lot of other characters from cartoons and folklore roaming about, and there are rides, games, candy, plays, and more to entertain both kids and adults alike.
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