Nowruz is an ancient Persian festival that heralds the start of the New Year in Iran and Central Asia.
This joyous occasion is celebrated by over 300 million people around the world and is regarded as one of the most important in Persian culture.
In this article, we will look at the traditions, history, and significance of Nowruz the Persian new year, as well as how people around the world celebrate it.
Nowruz Is 3000 years old
Nowruz has been celebrated for over 3,000 years and its exact origins are not clear. Some historians believe that Nowruz originated from the Zoroastrian religion, while others believe it has roots in the pre-Islamic era. The word “Nowruz” means “new day” in Persian and symbolizes the rebirth of nature, the renewal of life, and the start of a new year.
Traditions of the Persian new year
Nowruz is a time for families and friends to come together to celebrate the new year. There are several traditions associated with Persian new year, such as cleaning the house to start the new year fresh and buying new clothes to wear on the first day of spring.
One of the most important traditions of the Persian new year is the setting up of the Haft-Seen, a table that is decorated with seven items that start with the Persian letter “sin”. These items symbolize different aspects of life and prosperity.
The Haft-Seen table of the Persian new year typically includes:
- Sabzeh: wheat, barley, or lentil sprouts grown in a dish, symbolizing rebirth and growth
- Samanu: a sweet pudding made from wheat germ, symbolizing wealth and fertility
- Senjed: dried fruit from the lotus tree, symbolizing love
- Sir: garlic, symbolizing medicine and health
- Sib: apples, symbolizing beauty and health
- Somagh: sumac, symbolizing the color of sunrise
- Serkeh: vinegar, symbolizing age and patience
Other items of the Persian new year that are sometimes included:
Sonbol: hyacinth, the symbol of spring’s arrival
Sekkeh: coin, the symbol of wealth and prosperity
Saat : clock, the symbol of time
Other traditions include jumping over bonfires to ward off evil spirits, visiting family and friends, and giving gifts to children.
Nowruz the Persian New Year Celebrations Around the World
Nowruz is celebrated in countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, India and Pakistan. Each country has its own unique way of celebrating Nowruz, but the underlying message of renewal and hope remains the same.
In Iran, the new year is celebrated over a period of two weeks, starting on the first day of spring, and is a public holiday. The streets are filled with music, dancing, and colorful decorations. Families gather together to exchange gifts, eat traditional foods, and visit relatives.
In Afghanistan, the new year is celebrated over a period of 13 days and is known as “Sal-e-Nau”. People prepare for the celebrations by cleaning their homes, buying new clothes, and preparing traditional foods such as “Samanak” and “Haft-Mewa”.
In Tajikistan, the new year is a 5-day public holiday and is known as “Navruz”. People celebrate by wearing traditional clothes, visiting relatives, and participating in cultural events.
The Persian new year is a time of joy, hope, and renewal for millions of people around the world. Its rich history and traditions have been passed down from generation to generation and continue to be an important part of Persian culture. Whether you are celebrating Nowruz in Iran or in a different part of the world, the message of renewal and hope remains the same. As we welcome the new year and the start of spring, we wish you a happy and prosperous Nowruz!