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Norouz Celebrations Welcome Spring

The first day of spring is celebrated as Norouz, the Persian new year, and is marked on March 21. Across the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and elsewhere, Norouz means several days of music, dancing, eating, and other festivities as families celebrate the popular holiday. (18 PHOTOS)

Celebration of Norouz in Baku, Azerbaijan
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Celebration of Norouz in Baku, Azerbaijan

Norouz celebrations in the Azerbaijani capital.
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Norouz celebrations in the Azerbaijani capital.

Celebration of Norouz in Baku
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Celebration of Norouz in Baku

Celebrating Norouz in Karasu, Kyrgyzstan
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Celebrating Norouz in Karasu, Kyrgyzstan

Celebrations of Norouz in Vorukh, a Tajik enclave in Kyrgyzstan.
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Celebrations of Norouz in Vorukh, a Tajik enclave in Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyz horsemen participate in the traditional Central Asian sport of Kok-Boru, a competition held as part of the Norouz celebrations in Bishkek.
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Kyrgyz horsemen participate in the traditional Central Asian sport of Kok-Boru, a competition held as part of the Norouz celebrations in Bishkek.

Celebrating Norouz in Dushanbe, Tajikistan
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Celebrating Norouz in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Norouz celebrations in Dushanbe
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Norouz celebrations in Dushanbe

A Norouz celebration at the Blue Mosque in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan.
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A Norouz celebration at the Blue Mosque in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan.

People celebrate Norouz in Kabul, Afghanistan.
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People celebrate Norouz in Kabul, Afghanistan.

A Norouz celebration around the Sakhi Sahib Shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan.
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A Norouz celebration around the Sakhi Sahib Shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Iranians buy flowers for Norouz celebrations at a street market in Tehran.
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Iranians buy flowers for Norouz celebrations at a street market in Tehran.

Goldfish for sale swim in small bowls at a market in Tehran. Iranians get ready for Norouz celebrations by buying flowers, plants, and goldfish.
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Goldfish for sale swim in small bowls at a market in Tehran. Iranians get ready for Norouz celebrations by buying flowers, plants, and goldfish.

An Iranian girl plays music dressed as Haji Firouz, a Norouz tradition in Tehran.
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An Iranian girl plays music dressed as Haji Firouz, a Norouz tradition in Tehran.

Norouz festivities in Irbil, Iraq.
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Norouz festivities in Irbil, Iraq.

People celebrating Norouz in Irbil, Iraq.
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People celebrating Norouz in Irbil, Iraq.

Iraqi Kurdish men gather around a bonfire as they celebrate Norouz in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.
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Iraqi Kurdish men gather around a bonfire as they celebrate Norouz in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.

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