Happy Nowruz – Persian New Year

Today is the vernal equinox, the first day of spring. Which means it’s also the start of the Persian New Year, known as Nowrūz in Iran (pronounced no-rooz, literally “new day”). You can read all about this 3000 year old celebration, and its associated festivities and practices, on Wikipedia.


My favorite part as a child growing up in Iran was Chaharshanbe Suri, which is celebrated on the last Wednesday of the year, prior to the new year. Bonfires are lit and everyone celebrates by jumping over the fire, singing a verse that translates roughly into “take my sickly yellow, and give me your fiery red.” Fireworks and firecrackers are also involved, so you can just imagine how much fun it would be for a kid, not to mention the adults.


The most ubiquitous mark of Nowrūz is the traditional table setting known as Haft-Seen, where seven items starting with the letter “S” in Farsi are arranged in a decorative and festive manner.


Nowrūz was officially registered on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009. In 2010, the UN’s General Assembly recognized the International Day of Nowruz.


So even if you’re not Iranian, take a moment out of your day to celebrate the coming of spring, and Happy Nowrūz!

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