Istanbul, Turkey, March 19, 2006--
Honoring a rebel leader, thousands of Turkish Kurds protest--and mark the Nowruz spring festival, in part by jumping over fires.
Nowruz (Farsi for "new year"), a festival of Persian origin
, celebrates the arrival of spring with outdoor gatherings and feasts.
In Turkey, Nowruz was banned until 2005, and the celebration has become imbued with Kurdish
In Iran, Nowruz celebrations typically include visits to relatives and friends as well as the act of knotting a handkerchief and asking a stranger to untie it—symbolically seeking help for your misfortune.
In Afghanistan, seasonal foods such as haft mewa
(dried seven-fruit salad in syrup) are served, and farmers parade through cities to encourage agricultural production.
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Photograph by Murad Sezer/AP