Nowruz is the name of the Persian New Year
and marks the First day of Spring. It has been celebrated for more than 3000 years not
only in Iran, but in other countries as well. Celebrating Nowruz has become so widespread
that in 2010, United Nation’s General Assembly recognized the International Day of Nowruz.
Canadian Parliament also added Nowruz to the national calendar of Canada in 2009. So what does Nowruz mean? The word “Nowruz”
is a Persian compound word, consisting of two words: “No” ,meaning “New” and Ruz
, meaning “Day”. Nowruz, therefore means that a “New Day” has begun, signaling the beginning
of the new year. Interestingly, despite its popularity around the world, there is little
agreement on the correct spelling of Nowruz and numerous variations exist! As their most important national Holiday,
a typical Iranian family usually prepares for Nowruz, couple of weeks in advance. They
start with a tradition called Khooneh Tekouni, which literally means “Shaking the House”.
Many spend days and days cleaning every spot of their home before the beginning of the
new year. Close to the arrival of Nowruz, you might
encounter men dressed in red on streets of Iran, whose faces are covered in soot. Called
Haji Firuz, these men are the heralds of Nowruz. They sing and dance and deliver the news that
Nowruz is coming. Haji Firooz is the sidekick of Uncle Nowuz, the equivalent of Santa Claus
in Persian culture. Similar to Santa Claus, Uncle Nowruz, is also an old man with white
beard, who brings gifts and good luck of people. The most prominent symbol of Nowruz is called
Haft Seen table and Iranians put extra care to decorate it. Haft Seen, in farsi means ” The
Seven S’s “. It has seven items that start with letter “S” and each item represents an
important symbol of life: Perhaps the most important element is Sabzeh,
which is wheat or lentil sprouts grown in a dish. It is a Symbol of rebirth. Sib (or Apple) is a Symbol of Beauty & Health. Sir (or Garlic) is a Symbol of Medicine. Serkeh (or Vinegar) is a Symbol of age and
patience. Sumac is the Symbol of The Color of Sunrise. Senjed , or silver berry is the Symbol of
Love And finally, Samanu, which is sweet pudding
is the Symbol of Affluence. A Haft Seen table usually includes a holy or
a well-known poetry book, a mirror , coins, decorated eggs, lit candles , a bowl of water
with goldfish and dried nuts. All in all, Haft Seen tables are usually decorated elegantly
and are very colorful! Iranians start the celebration of Nowruz at
the time of the Spring equinox, or the first day of spring, which is around March 21st.
This is the time of the year that sunlight is evenly divided between the north and south
hemispheres. Traditionally, Iranians start the celebration
at the exact time that Nowruz arrives. It doesn’t matter if it is midnight, 2 p.m.
in the afternoon or 4 a.m. in the morning! They dress up in their new clothes and gather
around the Haft Sin table. Then they wait for the exact moment of the Spring arrival.
Many visit their closest family members right after the arrival of Nowruz. For this reason,
you might see many cars in the streets of Iran at 5 a.m., if the exact arrival of Nowruz
was 4:30 a.m! Interestingly, many Iranians believe that whatever a person does during
Nowruz,will affect the rest of the year. Therefore, your chances are high of finding kind and
affectionate Iranians during Nowruz are quite high! Nowruz celebrations last for 12 days. Schools
and many offices are closed during this period, when visiting friends and family is the main
activity. Iranians regard the 13th day as a bad luck day. In order to avoid the bad
luck associated with the number 13, they go outdoors for picnics on the 13th day of Spring.
This day is called “Sizdah Bedar”, which means “getting rid of the 13th”. Traditionally, on Sizdeh bedar, some girls
tie the leaves of their Sabzeh dish before throwing it away. When they tie, they express
their wish to get married before the next year’s Sizdah Bedar! Happy Nowruz everyone! We hope you have enjoyed
this video! Please share it with your friends so that they also know about Nowruz.