A large number of MEF IS students and their families celebrate Nowruz on March 21, an ancient Persian festival that marked the beginning of Spring. With over 300 million people worldwide, Nowruz was widely celebrated as the national holiday and new year in several countries, including Iran, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, parts of Turkey and Iraq, and certain regions of the Caucasus and Central Asia.