Nowruz translates to “new day” in Farsi, the perfect theme for the Persian New Year holiday.
It marks the first day of spring (March 20) and begins at the vernal spring equinox — at the time when the sun crosses the equator whilst day and night are of equal length.
Nowruz is an ancient 13-day spring festival that celebrates the end of winter and the rebirth of nature.
An auspicious time as millions of families around the world celebrate the heralding of spring, from the Persian community here in Canada to Zoroastrians, Bahais, Ismailis, to Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Turkey, India, and of course Iran and other regions throughout Central Asia.
Given the theme of honouring nature, giving thanks and renewal, the celebrations have a lot to do with symbolic gestures of love, reunion, kinship and a joyful reminder to all of us that winter is not, in fact, endless.
If you’re unfamiliar with this celebration — don’t worry — check out these seven ways to celebrate Nowruz like a Persian to learn more.
Decluttering and cleaning your home comes with the reward of shopping for a new outfit. Persians wear their nice new outfit on the first day of spring, typically while visiting with family.
Cleansing is the theme as Iranians rooted in the Zoroastrian culture prepare for the spring equinox. The last Tuesday evening of the year is set aside for a form of a bonfire party, where families of all ages jump through fire to cleanse the past and start the new year fresh. In Iran, this celebration lasts all through the night.
Decorate a haft-seen table
“Haft” means the number seven in Farsi, and seen stands for the letter “S.” The haft-seen is a table-scape arrangement of seven symbolic items, all starting with the letter S.
Offer trays of Persian Shirini and treats
These eats are available at Persian bakeries and markets – you won’t be disappointed if you try them, along with lots of fresh fruits. Other things often included are chickpea squares, rice cookies, and Nougat from Esfahan.
Traditionally the youngest members of the family receive gifts, usually in the form of fresh bills of money in envelopes.
Enjoy and indulge in Persian feasts
Like many other cultures, the celebrations are centred around delicious food. Persian cuisine is not only delightful but also healthy.
Enjoy Sizdah Bedar
On the 13th day of the Nowruz festival, thousands of families head out to spend the day in nature. This day is called Sizdah Bedar and holds a very sweet place for children as they get to run around and enjoy a lavish picnic with the whole family.
Wishing everyone celebrating Nowruz Mobarak!