Art And Culture

Nowruz: Message of Spring, Renewal, Hope

Nowruz: Message of Spring, Renewal, HopeNowruz: Message of Spring, Renewal, Hope

Winter has almost come to an end and with just two days to the spring, Iranians across the globe are looking forward to Nowruz, which is concurrent with the change of the season.

Nowruz (New Day) is the Iranian New Year celebration, which begins on the first day of spring in harmony with the rebirth of nature. It has been celebrated for over 3,000 years and is deeply rooted in the traditions of ancient Persia.

There are many customs attached to Nowruz. A few weeks before that, Iranians clean their homes. They make or buy new clothes, bake pastries, germinate seeds as sign of renewal, and the ceremonial ‘Haft Seen’ (seven S) is set up in each household.

‘Haft Seen’ table includes seven items all starting with the Persian letter ‘seen’ (equivalent to the English letter S). Each item has a symbolic meaning. ‘Haft Seen’ consists of seeb (apple), symbolizing beauty; sabze (green grass), standing for rebirth; somagh (sumak), suggesting sunrise; serkeh (vinager), for patience; samanu (a meal made out of wheat), a symbol of sweetness; senjed (a special kind of berry), a sign of love, and seer (garlic) symbolizing good health.

Other items are also placed on the table, such as the holy Qur’an, gold fish, painted eggs, coins, mirror and candles.

Before the beginning of the New Year, families gather together and by the turn of the year, people pray and greet each other. Usually the older ones give gifts to the younger members of the family.

The first few days are spent visiting older members of the family, relatives and friends. In the visits, children usually receive gifts, usually money, called ‘eidi’. Hosts often treat their guests with fruits, sweet, tea, and nuts.

The 13th day of the New Year is called ‘Sizdah Bedar’ and spent mostly outdoors. People leave their homes to go to the parks or local plains for a picnic.

Not only Iranians, but vast populations in Central and South Asia celebrate Nowruz including people in Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.