Culture Day and Creative Intelligentsia Day in Tajikistan Date in the current year: March 20, 2024

Culture Day and Creative Intelligentsia Day in Tajikistan Two interconnected holidays, Culture Day and Creative Intelligentsia Day, are observed in Tajikistan on March 20. They were created to celebrate the rich culture of Tajikistan and the creative force behind it.

Tajikistan has a rich culture that has developed over several millennia. For much of its history, the territory of what is now Tajikistan was part of various Iranian empires, and the culture of Tajikistan has developed under the heavy influence of Persian culture. In fact, many notable Persian poets, such as Rumi and Rudaki, are regarded as the classical poets of Tajik literature.

The modern art, literature and music of Tajikistan, as well as Tajik cinema, developed under the influence of the Soviet Union. Due to this, Tajik literature, cinema, theater, opera, and ballet were predominantly social realist throughout most of the 20th century.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the independence of Tajikistan, there has been a renewed interest in the traditional pre-Soviet culture of Tajikistan. Many traditional art forms have been revived, and the government of Tajikistan has established a number of holidays that focus on ancient traditions and celebrate notable Tajik authors of the pre-Soviet era and traditional art forms such as falak and shashmaqom.

A number of elements of Persian and specifically Tajik culture have made it to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. They include the celebration of Nowruz, silk farming and the traditional production of silk for weaving, the telling tradition of Nasreddin anecdotes, Oshi Palav (a staple rice dish), the embroidery art of chakan, and falak and shashmaqom music.

The term “creative intelligentsia” originated in the Soviet Union and is still used in some former Soviet republics, including Tajikistan, to refer to cultural workers and people of creative professions: writers, poets, actors, filmmakers, singers, songwriters, musicians, dancers, artists, sculptors, theater and opera directors, choreographers, journalists, designers… the list can go on and on.

The Law of the Republic of Tajikistan “On Holidays” treats Culture Day and Creative Intelligentsia Day as two separate holidays, but they are obviously interconnected and therefore fall on the same day: you cannot celebrate culture without acknowledging the people that create it, and vice versa. The choice of the date for the holidays is quite symbolic because March 20 is the day of the vernal equinox in Northern Hemisphere, which is associated with the beginning of spring and the awakening of nature and creativity.

Culture Day and Creative Intelligentsia Day are celebrated with various cultural events and activities that are held throughout the country. They include concerts, exhibitions, poetry readings, awards ceremonies, conferences, seminars and symposiums, and more. This celebration often overlaps with the celebration of Nowruz, an ancient New Year’s holiday that is still celebrated in the regions that used to be part of the Persian Empire.

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