Nowroz festival is the oldest of Iranian traditions.Noruz! A festival marking the start of the Persian new year and also
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Happy Nowruz!
Happy Nowruz!
Nowruz Mobarak...
Nowruz Mobarak...
Happy Celebrations!
Happy Celebrations!
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Wish Nowruz Mobarak!
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History Of The Persian New Year By Iraj Bashiri


The oldest of Iranian traditions, Nowruz (also referred to as eyd-i sar-i sal and eyd-i sal-i now) recalls the cosmological and mythological times of Iran. Its founder is a deputy of Ahura Mazda on earth, a position that imparts to him and the celebration a spiritual dimension and a particular sense of secular authority. The celebration is organized according to the dynamics of love between the Creator and his creation, the material world. The annual return of the spirits of the departed to their homes is celebrated by their offsprings according to primordial rites of which only a faint trace remains among the Persians and the Parsees of today. But that in no way diminishes the importance of the bond which is refreshed at every Nowruz.

The word "Nowruz" is a compound of two Persian words, "now" which has the same etymology as the English word "new" and means new, and the word "ruz" which means both "day" and "time." Literally meaning the "new day," nowruz is usually translated as "new year." The Persian Nowruz begins on the first day of spring (usually the 21st of March). The 21st of March, therefore, is equal to the 1st day of Farvardin of the Islamic solar calendar.

In the mind of Iranians, the word nowruz invokes colorful images which are sumptuous, elegant, and opulent as well as delightfully simple, refreshing, and cordial. Although colored with vestiges of Iran's Mazdian and Zoroastrian past, the Nowruz celebration is neither religious or national in nature, nor is it an ethnic celebration. Jewish, Zoroastrian, Armenian and Turkish Iranians and Central Asians celebrate the Nowruz with the same enthusiasm and sense of belonging. Perhaps it is this very universal nature of the message of Nowruz that speaks to its wealth of rites and customs as well as to its being identified as the unique fount of continuity of the Iranian culture.


Preparation For Welcoming The Nowruz

Sabzeh and Khane tekani

Preparation for the Nowruz begins early in March with sprouting of sabzeh (lentil, wheat, or barley seeds) and a thorough khane tekani (house cleaning). The former harks back to the agrarian background of the Iranian tribes that celebrated the main transitions in the climate that dictated the dynamics of their lives. The latter, which entails washing carpets, painting the house, and cleaning the yard and the attic, stems from the Zoroastrians' preoccupation with cleanliness as a measure for keeping Evil away from the kingdom of Good.

Symbolically, khane tekani signals to the spirits of the ancestors that their kin are ready and willing to entertain them. In other words, they are invited to descend on their previous homes to help them nourish the growth of the sabzeh, the main source of their sustenance which has been depleted during the long and cold days of winter.

Kharid-i Nowruz

The sprouting of seeds and house cleaning are followed by kharid-i Nowruzi (Nowruz shopping). Nowruz shopping, a family affair performed mostly to engage the children in the celebration, must include all the members. Everyone must be measured and outfitted with new clothes, shoes, hats, and the like. In addition, as we shall see below, the sofreh (Nowruz display cloth) requires certain items--sweetmeats, confectioneries, candles, fruits, and nuts--which are also bought at this time. In addition to what is bought, women of the household bake various types of sweet breads and sew special clothes for the little ones. At the end a trip must be made to the bank for acquiring shiny, new coins and crisp, fresh banknotes to give out as eydi (gift) and for the sofreh.


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