More than 300 million people worldwide celebrate Nowruz, with traditions and rituals that date back hundreds of years. Nowruz [or norooz, pronounced NO-ROOZ] in Persian means “New-day”.
Annual celebrations mark the start of spring and the beginning of a new year.
Nowruz begins precisely at the vernal equinox, on the 1st day of Farvardin of the Islamic solar calendar, usually on March 20th or 21st.
It is a time of great joy and family celebrations that are shared by people of all faiths in many countries that trace their history back through the centuries to the ancient Mesopotamian civilization and the Persian Empire.
Minstrels, Haji Firuz, sing in the streets to announce the festivities and house cleaning is a part of the preparations. On the Wednesday before Nowruz bonfires are lit to jump over and children gather coins and treats as they visit neighbors.
Nowruz always begins on the first day of spring, and it lasts for 13 days.
Families gather at Haft-seen or Haft-sinn, tables set with special traditional Nowruz foods and recipes and other items to symbolize the family’s beliefs and values.
All of them begin with the sound of the letter “S” — Seeb – apple; Sabze – green grass or Sabzeh – wheat or lentil sprouts; Serke – vinager; Samanoo – a paste made out of wheat; Senjed – a berry native to the region; Sekke – a coin; and Seer – garlic.
You’ll find other lists of the seven S sound items in the sites below. As often happens with such ancient traditions, a bit of variation has crept into the celebration in the centuries since it was first begun. Most haftseen tables also include a small fishbowl with goldfish and a mirror to represent elements of the earth and human consciousness.
The sixth day of the festivities is Zarathushtra’s birthday and special celebrations are held to mark the occasion. The 13th day of the new year is called “Sizdah Bedar” and the parks are filled with families bringing luck by spending the day out of doors. Young girls tie grass in knots on this day to wish for a good husband.
Nowruz is the beginning of the year for the people of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Tajikistan and a few of the Asian republics of the former Soviet Union. It is also celebrated as the new year by people descended from Persian and Iranian ancestors. The Kurds in Georgia, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey celebrate Nowruz as the new year festival. Many communities where people from these countries have settled also join in the celebrations.
Lord Now Ruz has come.
Friends, spread this message –
The New Year has come again!
This spring be your good luck,
The tulip fields be your joy.
Haji Firuz Song
May the New Year bring peace to all…