Nowruz, Persian New Year
Happy Nowruz! The beautiful and magical spring is here with its lovely tulips, hyacinths, narcissi, and sweetly fragranced jasmines to remind us again that nature renovates itself every spring.
The soft spring wind and the Persian Santa Clause (Haji Firouz) on the streets are the envoys of Nowruz. Since ancient times Iranians celebrated their New Year on the very moment the sun completes its full turn around the sun and that is the first day of spring season.
Haji Firouz is the symbol of happiness for people. He is on the streets before and during Nowruz with his face and hands painted in black, wearing red clothes and a hat. Haji Firouz has a tambourine that plays on it and sings happy traditional songs to bring more joy to Nowruz celebration.
As a tradition for Nowruz, every household does a thorough cleaning of their homes inside out and empties their home of any old and unused material. People buy new clothes and get new haircuts to have a very fresh start for the New Year. The special food for Nowruz is fried fish with Sabzi Polo (rice with chopped herbs). It is cooked either for New Year’s Eve dinner or for lunch on New Year’s Day.
Iranians have a Sofreh for their weddings and celebrations and there is a Haft Seen (seven s’s) Sofreh for Nowruz as well. All the items on the table are chosen because they bring good luck and prosperity to all the family members.
Senjed (fruit of the oleaster tree), symbolizes love.
Sib (apple) is the symbol of health and beauty.
Sabzeh (sprouted wheat grass) is a symbol of birth and development.
Samanu (a sweat pudding made from wheat) symbolizes wealth and fertility.
Seer (garlic) symbolizes medicine.
Serkeh (vinegar) symbolizes wisdom gained by age.
Somaq (a Persian berry) symbolizes the color of sunrise.
Some people put coins (Sekeh in Farsi) for future prosperity. The holly book, Qoran or Bible is on the table accompanied by a copy of Rumi’s, Hafez, or Shahnameh (The Epic of Persian Kings).
On the New Year, people visit their friends and families and get ready for guests to come over. The greeting is by kissing one another on the cheek in gratitude and saying “Noruz Mobarak!”
Noruz celebration lasts for 13 days and to escape the unluckiness of the 13th day, everyone goes out in a park or garden to have a picnic. On this day like the April Fools’ Day, people play practical jokes and spread hoaxes.
Happy Now Ruz the celebration of Life.