Iranian new year is just around the corner. Nowruz is the name of Iranian new year which is first day of the Spring. Nowruz has been celebrated in Iran, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, ..
Nowruz is celebration of spring equinox and roots back to ancient religion Zoroastrianism. All Iranian in all over the world celebrate Nowruz, no matter where they are.
In 2010 United nation general Assembly recognised the ‘ international day of Nowruz’.
Nowruz means new day and before arrival of Nowruz, Iranian families start Spring cleaning or (khoneh tekoni) which literally means shaking the house and it looks like shaking the house, because all family members have to spend day , night to clean up everything and spot of the house.
Several days before Nowruz, everywhere is busy on the streets. Vendors sell goldfish and other items for Persian new year. You would see men dressed in red with a tambourine in hand, on the streets of Iran. This man is called ‘ Haji Firooz’. His face covered in soot. They are singing and dancing on the streets and trying to cheer people and deliver the news that Nowruz in on the way.
Haji firooz is assistant of Uncle Nowruz, which is parallel to the Santa Clause. Uncle Nowruz is an old man with white beard who brings good luck to people. According to folklore, uncle Nowruz appears annually at the beginning of Spring with his sidekick, Haji firooz.
For Nowruz, we set a table which is called ‘ Haft seen’ or seven S’s. We decorate our table with seven items that start with letter ‘S’ in Farsi language and each item has symbolic meaning.
These seven items are:
Sabzeh ( lentil, wheat or barley growing) is symbol of rebirth
Samanu ( sweet pudding) is symbol of affluence
Sib ( apple) is symbol of beauty
Seer ( garlic) is symbol of medicine
Serkeh (vinegar) is symbol of age – patience
Sumac is symbol of color of sun rise
Senjed ( sliver berry) is symbol of love
Other items that we add to the Haftseen tables includes: the Holy book or a well known poetry book , a mirror, coins, painted eggs, lit candles for each member of family, a bowl of water with gold fish, sweets, nuts and fruits, and flowers.
Iranians start celebration of Nowruz around 21th March, the time of the spring equinox. It does not matter if it is early morning , mid night, noon or after noon. People dress up new clothes, sit around the Haft seen table and wait for the exact moment of the spring arrival. And then family members hugs each other, kisses and gifts exchange.
Then people start visit their family members or friends and neighbours.
Nowruz celebration lasts 12 days. During this period schools are closed and visiting family members, eating and drinking is main activity. The last day of Nowruz is celebrated on the 13th of Nowruz and as 13 is a bad luck number, for this reason people leaving their houses and spending the day in the nature.
So as we say in Farsi: Nowruz mobarak = Happy Nowruz