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Nowruz: a time of rebirth of nature, awakening from hibernation

In the twentieth of March in the spring equinox, 300 million people around the world celebrate Nowruz. Nowruz is celebrated every year at the beginning of spring by diverse ethnicities from the Balkans to the Black Sea, from Central Asia to the Middle East and elsewhere for over 3,000 years. For some it's a new year, a festival of fire, for others it's the victory of good over evil, a period of letting go of past mistakes; the common fact is that Nowruz is a time of rebirth of nature, awakening from hibernation.

By Madina Joldybek04 May 2023

During Nowruz, warming weather, birth of new wild and domestic animals, plants blooming, we would like to share excerpts from the publication made within the framework of the DAVRA public programme of documenta 15. In the publication itself, we have tried to unravel the meaning of Pari, a character of the Central Asian pandemonium. Pari are supernatural anthropomorphic spirits; they are often presented as beautiful women or young men, but may take the form of an animal, bird, tree, flame or water. Below are extracts from the publication on vegetation, animalism and shapeshifting.

Suleiman Pari (Fish in the rivers Spirit)

by Munisa Juraeva

Oftob Pari (Sun Spirit)

by Diana Rahmanova

Jer-Ene Pari (Mother Earth Spirit)

by Jazgul Madazimova

I knew I would tell you this sooner or later. I chose to do this by writing to you a personal letter.

You are a girl, you are a woman, Mother Earth, You are a mother. With the first days of spring you release your body, you let your hair loose and your chest lifts towards the sky. When your thighs spread, the melt of the mountain runs to wake the whole world up to its feet. The lightning strikes, the stars fly and the water runs through your body. At that very moment, we will all sense you on our skin. Your inspiration, your joy and your ice-breaking laughter will touch every single heart on Earth. Our souls seek the love you taught us. Your overwhelming body heat makes us search for a waterfall to sing to our souls. Every creature, the sky and the moon will feel the arousal of your body. Spring will run through the natural instincts. When summer comes, your body fills with grain to mark the moment of conception. Your nature takes over the nourishment of millions of fetuses. Your heat grows to a peak in the 40 days and 40 nights of summer. Your contraction grows towards the end of season. Sleep escapes to the moon field. Just keep on rolling towards the end of funnel, Mother Earth. When autumn comes, you free your body and share your harvest with every single living species. Look at the wheat and bread you grow for us, Mother Earth. We are all blessed.

Let time rest, let wounds recover under a snowfall. You will be in the depth of sleep when the 40 coldest days arrive again. The 40 will make you sleep soundly until the branch sprouts again.

Forgive us, Mother Earth. Forgive us, the white field, the mountains of my wise mother. We have afflicted you, we betrayed your nature. We filled your grace with rubbish in exchange for your love.

We exchanged your merry laughter for weeping and mourning for blood. We threw a stone at your joyful charm.

You require mercy and compassion. You require warmth, my Mother Earth.

Gulbon Pari (Spirit with a garden)

by Zumrad Mirzalieva

Suv Pari (Water Spirit)

by Intizor Otaniyozova

If I were the Amu Darya,
Having left paradise in search of something
I would start speaking in a babbling tongue
The desire to forget and remember all at once.

If I were the Amu Darya,
Having made the fire fear the water
I would still give and I would be worshipped
Can one destroy? What about create?

If I were the Amu Darya,
Then having reflected the world in my current
I would slowly evaporate
Sometimes the end is also the beginning.

Siyopush Pari (Dressed in black Spirit)

by Benazir Ibraimova

Silent Sirens
The brook babbles under the moon
Gurgling silvery sparks
A butterfly mutters something to me
Fluttering below the moon’s caress

Scarlet lips are swollen
The cool of the night soothes them
Let gloomy thoughts disappear
Blown away by the timid wind

Breathing with anxious breaths
I ask you to find peace
The splash of the stream is a lullaby
Leave sorrow behind

Looking at the watery threads
I see the reflection of Peri!
And in an instant the night came to life
And my heart was pounding

Along the contour of dried-up tears
Silent sirens soared
Above the overheated eyelids
Prayers gently said

Without the help of frenzied words
But with the gaze of eternal spring
Healed by the presence,
Concealing their faces, silent sirens

Cholpon Pari (Spirit from the steppe)

by Kokonja

English version:
my eyes runned by the weaves of rug
then they appeared in a dream:
there where sheep and goats graze,
the only tree Qorlyqaiyn (my grandma’s name, means “Fertile Birch”)
only my grandmother Qorlyqaiyn
pouring out felt and butter through the roots.

Ilon Pari (Snake Spirit)

by Aïda Adilbek

Екі алақанда
бірдей ала қан
Сенің бойың - менің жалғасым.
Менің білгенім - сенің ақылың.
Бір өмір - мыңдаған тән.

English version:
In two palms
it’s the same blood
that runs.
Your body is my extension.
My knowledge is your wisdom.
A thousand shaped life.