After a short recall of Biruni’s considerations on the celebration of Nawruz during the summer solstice in ancient Soghd and Khwarezm, the authors drive on with an evocation of its practice during spring and autumn equinoxes in the Western Pamir, according to the traditional calendar based on the parts of the human body (hisab-i mard), mainly through the classical ethnographic literature of the early Soviet period (esp. M. S. Andreev’s major work on the “Tajiks of the Khuf Valley”).  The distinct, successive celebrations during the spring New Year festivals, in different places and by different social categories of the local populations, are schematically divided by the authors into two segments—nawruz and sar-i sal—, and put together with Narshakhi’s early medieval data on the distinct, successive celebration of Nawruz in Warakhsha by, respectively, the common folk and the mages.  A confrontation of Andreev’s ethnographical material with modern and current practices in Badakhshan itself, or in other regions of Transoxiana would have driven the authors to a more subtle, less dialectical approach of these practices.

Stéphane A. Dudoignon, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-7.4.E-648