Nowruz is the name of the Iranian New year, which is also the Persian New Year. It is generally celebrated in Afghanistan, and is also known as the Farmer’s Day.
Nowruz is the other name of Persian New Year. It is a festivity, the roots of which can be traced back to almost 3000 years, when it was first celebrated in the Balkan , the Black Sea region.
- Date of Nowruz in 2017 – 20th of March, 2017
Meaning of the word – The meaning of the word “Now” means “New” and “Ruz” means “Day”. It is the day of the vernal equinox. We can see this celebration being observed in many parts across our country. This festival is also observed by other countries like Iran, Albania, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, India, Russia, Syria, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Rojava, Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan, etc.
In Iran, Nowruz is the most important holiday and it marks the official New Year of the country. In Azerbaijan, the largest amount of public holidays is related to Nowruz which almost comes to a staggering number of 7 days! In Albania, the day of Sultan Nevruzit is organized mainly as an auspicious and mystical day.
In China, it is a practice for people to plant trees, keeping the houses hygienic, dig upping irrigation canals, and making food for the visitors during the festival of the Nawroz. In Turkey, this holiday is now officially celebrated. In Syria, the Kurdish people put on their national dress and celebrate the New Year.
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Overview – The Nowruz is one of the most important celebrations for the Persians and it gives the place of a national holiday. This festival is celebrated for thirteen days, but the ancient Persian people believed that thirteen was an unlucky number. It happens in the beginning of Spring Season. Around 21st March, this Nowruz is celebrated each year.
History of Nowruz – The traditional celebration of the Nowruz can be traced back to the 2nd century A.D. However there have been historical views that the celebration of Nowruz existed even before that, during the time of the Achaemenid Empire, which can be traced back to the 550 to 330 BCE. The General Assembly of the UN declared Nowruz to be an international day in the year 2013. The renowned Persian poet Omar Khayyam has talked extensively about the celebration of this festival in his book the Nowruz-nama, which depicted the tales of the New Year celebrations. It is a worldly holiday for most of the Persian people but it remains a holy day for Zoroastrians.
There are certain typical and traditional customs to welcome and celebrate Nowruz.
- Spring Cleaning Houses – People of Persia believed that the Nowruz celebration is the time to get rid of all that is old and worn and welcome all that which is new and fresh. People on this day wear new clothes and put on gold and silver kustis. The tradition of cleaning house is known as Khouneh Tekouni which means to shake it well.
- Visiting friends, family and neighbors – The Nowruz is a celebration which requires meeting friends, family and relatives on the day. They also have a custom of giving cards to their family and friends. People carry sweets or other delicacies when they go to visit the homes of their near and dear ones. The visitor and the visited both often end up treating each other with sweets.
- Nowruz Parties – since the Persian New Year entails visiting family friends’ neighbor’s etc, people also organize quite a few number of parties. Because lot of people stay far away or it becomes difficult for people to attend so many people. Thus it has become customary to organize lavish parties where everyone can meet everyone else.
- Nowruz Picnic or Sizdah Be-darn – At the very last day of this 13 day long festival it is a good time to spend with family or friends somewhere out of the house and enjoying the fresh air. People therefore organize picnics on this day and this ritual is known by the name of Sizad Be-dar.
- Resolutions of Nowruz – Most of the people try to allocate this day of Nowruz in a positive way. The Persian people feel that how they spend the first day will pave way for the rest of the year. Therefore they try to spend the day in peace and happy harmony. They try to spend happiness and harmony all around.
- Bonfire and Singing – Nowruz is a time for happy beginning. Thus it calls for happiness and singing. Fire is considered to be sacred to the Persian culture and thus people make a bonfire of all redundant things and eradicates darkness and gloom from their lives. Every road will invariable come across a bonfire organized where people will be performing, dancing or signing melodiously, and be even jumping over the fire.
- Making, preparing and serving of sweetmeats – As mentioned earlier, while visiting people at home to wish or to greet people who come on this particular day, people prepare sweetmeats from beforehand. People carry sweetmeats too. Children from neighbors clamor at the door asking for sweets. It is believed that this clamor sends away the evil spirits away. The exchange of sweets lends a sweet note to the New Year celebrations.
- Sending off Bad Luck
- Kūze Shekastan– the Persian people believed that bad luck got stored in earthen pots. So people broke earthen pots to ward off evil luck.
- Fal-Gûsh – People predict the ensuing New Year by pieces of conversation.
- Gereh-goshā’ī – People tie a knot on a piece of cloth and ask a passer-by to untie it, signifying coming out of all obstacles.
- Haft Sīn – There exist numerous myths and traditional rituals for Nowruz. Haft Seen is the l table setting in the traditional pattern for this occasion. There should be seven items on the table with their names beginning with the Persian letter Sin. Family members gather around the table with the Haft Seen on it and wait for an auspicious moment to exchange New Year gifts with each other.
- Nowruz Feasting – Nowruz is an extremely fun filled and wonderful occasion which naturally involves a lot of feasting. Some deserts and snacks are made for these days which are traditional like Ajil, Baklava, Falooda dessert, Nan berenji, etc and some dishes are also made like Ash e reshte, chicken farcha, Dolma, Fried fish and Jalebi, Kuku sabzi, Reshte polo, etc.
- Sizdah Bedar – This ritual is carried out on the 13th day of the Nowruz. The ancient people of Persia was under the thought process that 13 was an unlucky number and thus on this day they used to break the earthen pots, sing dance and make merry as they had managed to spend 13 days without any kind of ill luck.
Greetings – Some of the ways to greet for Persian New Year are “Nowruz Mubarak”. Some other greetings could be “Nowruz Pirooz”, or “Sad Saal Bin Saal-ha”. These are some greetings with which people wish each other on this auspicious occasion.