Nowruz - What's behind the Spring Festival and the Parsi New Year

by - August 18, 2017

The Parsi New Year festival of Nouruz, also Noruz or Newroz is one of the oldest celebrations of mankind. Nowruz begins with the astronomical beginning of spring, which is also the beginning of the Iranian calendar year. Nowruz falls on the 20th or 21st March of each year.

Nowruz originated from pastoral or peasant culture. People celebrated the transition from winter to summer. Fertility and renewal rituals can be recognized in some customs in Nowruz. Ancient Persian legends tell us that this land was called the land of the Aryans.

There are historical indications that the Apadana and the Persepolis, Hall of 100 Columns were built for the Nowruz celebrations in the Achaemenid era. Xenophon tells us that the New Year was celebrated in Persepolis. People from the entire empire handed gifts to the King on this day.

Mehregan was the spring festival and Nowruz was the autumn festival. The Parthians later celebrated Nowruz in the autumn. Nowruz was chosen as the Parsi New Year festival during the Sassanian era. Nowruz was the most important festival in Sassanid Iran since the rule of Ardashir I. On this day prisoners were pardoned. Nowruz, Jashn-e Sadeh, and Chaharshanbe Suri are the festivals that have survived the Islamic dictatorship in Iran.

Navroz festival images parsi new year wallpapers

The importance of Haft Sin

Haft-Sin stands for a covered table with seven ingredients like Sabze or germinated wheat, Sib or apple, Serkeh or vinegar, Sir or garlic, Sumac, a Persian spice, Samanu, a candy made from wheatgrass and wheat flour and Senjed, a dried fruit from oleaster tree was kept. A gold coin, as well as colorful eggs and goldfish in a glass container, a mirror, a candle, were also kept.

The festival lasted for twelve days. The thirteenth day was celebrated as the new year, which marked the last day of the Nowruz celebrations. On Sizdar-Bedar on the thirteenth day after Nouruz, evil spirits are to visit the houses. The families spent the day in the open. They organize picnics in parks or do excursions to rivers.

The rebirth of the Sumerian deity Dumuzi

Nowruz once symbolized the rebirth of the Sumerian deity Dumuzi. People prepare the Sabzi Polou with fried fish, a rice dish with herbs, such as parsley, coriander, buckwheat clover, chives and dill, thick beans and small diced potatoes, and Kuku Sabzi, a delicious herbal soufflé.

Before the Nouruz celebrations, the house cleaning takes place. These are subject to strict or loose rules depending on the culture. On Tuesday evening of the last Wednesday before bonfires are lit. People chant zardi ye man az to, sorkhi ye to az man.

In the days after, relatives and friends visit each other to settle old quarrels and get closer to each other. People dance in colorful clothes on the streets. Since Nouruz is celebrated in many different places, people have expanded the festival with local customs.

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