Happy Persian New Year!!! Impress your Iranian friends and tell them “Noruz Mobarak.” Persian New Year’s always occur on the first day of spring, this year it’s on March 19th 10:14pm PT. In the Iranian calendar it’s 1391.
Many of you have asked, what do you do for Persian New Year’s? Below is a description on how we celebrate this cultural event (Enjoy). I’d like to wish everyone a wonderful New Year’s (Noruz) Celebration! Love, Leila
Noruz (Persian New Year) literally means “New Day” and celebrates the first day of spring. Sal Tahvil is the official time for the Spring Equinox. Every year the equinox occurs usually on, or around, March 21st. Noruz has been celebrated for at least 3,000 years and is deeply rooted in the rituals and traditions of the Zoroastrianism, the religion of ancient Persia, before the advent of Islam in 7th century A.D.
The celebration begins on the eve of the last Wednesday before Noruz, also known as Char-Shanbeh Souri, or “Red Wednesday.” Bonfires are lit in public places and people leap over the flames; symbolically, people burn their past year’s weaknesses, sins, bad habits, and even misfortunes with the hope of starting a new and fresh life in the coming New Year.
Char-Shanbeh souri has a religious background in which Zoroastrian’s introduced fire as a cleansing and purifying element which removed all kinds of uncleanness from the earth.
Iranians consider Noruz their biggest celebration of the year. By the first day of Spring, an elaborate table spread (Sofreh) is adorned with items collectively known as the Haft Seen. At least seven (Haft) symbolic objects that begin with the Persian letter Seen (same as ‘S’ in English) is decorated. The number seven has been sacred in Persian culture since the ancient times and stands for the seven virtues of life: Rebirth, Health, Happiness, Prosperity, Joy, Patience and Beauty.
The seven items usually include:
- Seeb (apple): symbolizes health, natural beauty, fragrance;
- Sabzeh (wheat or lentil, is grown on a dish before New Years): representing rebirth;
- Serkeh (vinegar): symbolizes age and patience; wards off bitterness in life;
- Samanoo (sweet pudding made from wheat germ): symbolizes sweetness; fertility;
- Senjed (dried fruit from the lotus tree): symbolizes love;
- Sekkeh (coin): symbolizes wealth, and prosperity;
- Seer (garlic): symbolizes medicine;
- Somagh (sumak, an Iranian spice): represents the color of sunrise;
- Sonbol (hyacinth flower): represents sweetness; with its strong fragrance welcomes the arrival of spring.
Also, placed on the Sofreh:
- Lighted candles: represents the goodness and warmth that enters life with the coming of spring;
- Orange placed in a bowl of water: represents earth floating in space;
- Goldfish: represents life; and the next zodiac sign, from Pices
- Mirror: symbolizes the reflections of creation on the first day of spring;
- Painted eggs: representing fertility;
- Rosewater – thought to have magical cleansing powers;
- Shirini – Sugar cookies and pastries;
- Holy Book such as Qur’an (Koran), Avesta, Torah, Bible. It depends on the faith which the family belongs to. Some Iranian’s found another alternative such as Divan-e Hafiz (poetry book of Hefiz) or Shahnameh (the Epic of Kings) from Ferdowsi.
Troubadours or Hajee Firouz symbolizes the rebirth of the Sumerian god of sacrifice, Domuzi, who was killed at the end of each year and reborn at the beginning of the New Year. Hajee Firouz wears a bright red outfit and covers the face with black make-up, as well as sings and dances through the streets with a tambourine, kettle drum and trumpet, to spread good cheer and the news of the coming New Year.
Noruz is a twelve-day celebration in which people visit their families and friends, the tradition is called Eid-de-danni (means visiting people for season greetings). Officially, Noruz ends on the 13th day, Seezdeh beh-dar. Iranians consider 13 to be an unlucky number, and for this reason, they spend the day outside the home. Seezedeh means 13 and beh-dar means away or out. Essentially, it is custom for Iranians to spend the day with nature at the park, hills or mountainsides for a festive picnic.
Noruz is a ‘Celebration of Life’