All of the estimated 400,000 Azerbaijani Americans, 500,000 Turkish Americans and tens of thousands of other Turkic Americans (all together, a one-million-strong community) are celebrating the Novruz Bayram (Ergenekon Bayrami), as it has a very special significance to us as the beginning of Spring (vernal equinox), a celebrated time in many cultures, particularly Turkic. We want this fact to be reflected in the annual Presidential address and proclamations.
All Turkic people from Caucasus to Central Asia and beyond celebrate Novruz and the coming of the Spring – a wonderful tradition going back several millennia. Novruz (Nevruz) generally falls around March 21, corresponding to the vernal equinox, when the day and night are of equal length. Novruz is an official holiday in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and a public holiday in Turkey.
In the pre-Islamic Turkic calendar, the new year began in March. Hence the association of Novruz with the New Year. Novruz is also regarded by some Turkic groups as a celebration of independence, a tradition rooted in the Ergenekon Destan (Epic). According to it, the forefathers of the Turkic people managed to set themselves free on the day of Novruz and left the valley named Ergenekon.
We urge President Obama to mention Azerbaijan, Turkey and all Turkic nations, as well as Azerbaijani Americans, Turkish Americans, Turkic Americans, in a presidential message on Novruz celebrations. May this ancient, peaceful and fun tradition bring all people closer, increase dialogue between civilizations, promote mutual understanding and cultural diversity.