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Published:March 16th, 2007 05:50 EST
Nowruz is Coming Soon

Nowruz is Coming Soon

By Suren Hossein

March 21 (1 Farvardin) is quickly approaching and Iranians prepare to start New Year. Persians celebrate the Nowruz (new day) as the greatest feast in the Middle East country. They cuddle together with smiling faces, the shaking of hands, dancing feet as fragrant smells feel the air.

All Iranians say together “Happy New Year”. Persians start to prepare for the Nowruz with a major spring-cleaning of their houses; they wash carpets, windows, doors, walls and sort their instruments thoroughly before the coming of spring.  People go to bazaars to buy new necessaries to wear for the New Year such as clothes, shoes, equipment, flowers, candy, nuts, and fruits.

You can see so many peddlers sitting on the footpaths of the sidewalks selling everything such as scarves, pants, ties, vases, and decorative tools regardless the volume of traffic during these crowded days.   

In the Nowruz, children receive gifts from parents as well as other adults. Iranians remember their childhood times when they received colourful eggs, coins, whirligigs, books, toys etc. Unfortunately nowadays, children receive money instead of gifts and some of them go shopping to buy computer games. Goldfishes are sold so much in the Nowruz and every Iranian family ought to supply a flagon even though these nice creatures die as a result of oxygen insufficiency and another reasons.

The Nowrouz is the traditional Iranian new year holiday in Iran, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, Albania, Georgia, various countries of Central Asia such as Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, as well as among the Iranian people everywhere.

According to encyclopedia, tradition dates the Nowruz as far back as 15,000 years ago -- before the last ice age. The mythical Persian King Jamshid (Yima or Yama of the Indo-Iranian lore) symbolizes the transition of the Indo-Iranians from animal hunting to animal husbandry and a more settled life in human history. Seasons played a vital part then. Everything depended on the four seasons. After a severe winter, the beginning of spring was a great occasion with Mother Nature rising up in a green robe of colorful flowers and the cattle delivering their young. It was the dawn of abundance. Jamshid is said to be the person who introduced the Nowruz celebrations.

The last Tuesday of the year is celebrated by the Iranian people as Chahârshanbe Sûrî Persian: åÇÑÔäÈå ÓæÑی), the Iranian festival of fire. This festival is the celebration of the light (the good) winning over the darkness (the bad); the symbolism behind the rituals are all rooted back to Zoroastrianism.

The tradition includes people going into the streets and alleys to make fires, and jump over them while singing the traditional song Zardî-ye man az to, sorkhî-ye to az man (literally: "My yellowness for you, your redness for me; ", but figuratively: My paleness (pain, sickness) from you, your strength (health) from me.

Serving different kinds of pastry and nuts known as Ajîleh Moshkel Goshâ (lit. The problem-solving nuts) is the Chahârshanbe Sûrî way of giving thanks for the previous year's health and happiness, while exchanging any remaining paleness and evil for the warmth and vibrancy of the fire.

Haft Sîn or the seven 'S's is a major tradition of Norouz. The haft sin table includes seven items specific starting with the letter S or Sîn (Ó) in Persian alphabet). The items symbolically correspond to seven creations and holy immortals protecting them. Originally called Haft Chin, the Haft Sin has evolved over time, but has kept its symbolism. Traditionally, families attempt to set as beautiful a Haft Sîn table as they can, as it is not only of traditional and spiritual value, but also noticed by visitors during Norouzi visitations and is a reflection of their good taste.
The Haft Sin items are:

  • sabzeh - wheat, barley or lentil sprouts growing in a dish - symbolizing rebirth
  • samanu - a sweet pudding made from wheat germ - symbolizing affluence
  • senjed - the dried fruit of the oleaster tree - symbolizing love
  • sîr - garlic - symbolizing medicine
  • sîb - apples, - symbolizing beauty and health
  • somaq - sumac berries - symbolizing (the color of) sunrise
  • serkeh - vinegar - symbolizing age and patience
I am looking forward to hearing nightingale’s song on the sunny spring morning of Nowruz and I hope that some of these laudable traditions spread around the world.