Spring replaces winter. Cold replaces warmth. Fragrant plants and flowers replace frozen lands. The first day of spring has been awaited eagerly by people of Persian descent everywhere as it marks the Persian New Year, Nowruz, a day filled with joyous celebrations and feasting.
Nowruz marks the change of season from winter to spring. Dating all the way back to Zoroastrian traditions in ancient Persia, Nowruz, which means “new day” in Farsi is a day that symbolises rebirth and revival. The festival is marked by a number of activities:
Cleaning. To prepare for this day, people in most of Central Asia perform the “khoneh takooni,” an annual spring cleaning in which they wash everything, make repairs, of various household items and donate the things they do not need anymore. The festival is marked by a number of celebrations:
The Haft Seen
Seven S’s table. This is not a table whose shape is an “s,” but rather, a table laden with seven items each of which begin with the letter “s” and symbolizes a certain idea in relation to the renewal. For example, “seer,” which is Farsi for garlic represent good health while “sabzeh,” sprouts, renewal. The other five foods on the table are Sumaq, Seeb, Samanu, Senjed and Sonbol. Additional items include a mirror symbolizing eternity and coins to symbolize wealth among other foods and items.
The Chaharshanbe Suri
Red Wednesday. And no, red does not represent blood but is used to describe a bonfire ritual held on the last Wednesday before Nowruz. People jump over flames from bonfires in the streets singing. Again the concept of renewal is highlighted as the repetitive catchy line accompanying the songs is; “ give me your beautiful red color and take back my sickly pallor!”
Uncle Nowruz and Haji Piruz
Persian Santa Claus and Street singers. Uncle Nowruz gives children gifts while the Haji Piruz wear redsuits and blackfaces and play tambourines in the streets.
Being a secular holiday marking important celebrations, you can also celebrate it. So folks, put on your new clothes, get Persian and celebrate the feast of revival, welcoming spring. Happy new year- Nowruz Pirouz!
Wind and rain have gone. Lord Nowruz has come. Friends, convey this message. The New Year has come again.This spring be your good luck The tulip fields be your joy. Common Song Sang by Haji Piruz in Nowruz Celebrations.