Ban Ki-moon on Monday marked international Day of Nowruz, the Persian spring festival, by issuing a strong call for peace and harmony between peoples of all cultures in a time that the world is experiencing multiple upheavals and conflicts, Xinhua reported.
Celebrated annually on March 21, Nowruz stands for "new day" in Farsi as it also marks the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. Calling on people worldwide, the secretary-general urged "let the spirit of Nowruz prevail" in a message marking the day.
"Nowruz is a day for renewal -- it is an opportunity to reflect on the intimate links between people and the natural world," Ban said. "And it carries a strong message of peace and harmony between peoples of all cultures on the basis of mutual respect and understanding."
"These timeless values are at the heart of the mission of the United Nations, and are more relevant than ever as we grapple with such pressing global concerns as environmental degradation, human rights abuses, intolerance and armed conflict," he added.
Around 300 million people globally celebrate Nowruz, particularly in the Balkans, the Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions, the Caucasus, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East.
The day is also part of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Later Monday, a special concert will be held at the General Assembly Hall at the UN Headquarters in New York, showcasing music, dance, costumes and rituals from the Turkic region.
Additionally, the United Nations will hold a tree planting ceremony at a park in Tehran, Iran.