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7 frequent questions about Nowruz

Essential things to know about the Persian New Year


The morning Nowruz breeze

Is showering the garden

With flowers.” – Sa’di

Nowruz or the Persian New Year (prounced “no-rooz”) has been celebrated on the occasion of spring arrival and the rebirth of nature.

Read on to find out the essential things that you should know about the most important holiday in Iran.

  1. What’s Nowruz?

Nowruz is the Persian name of the Persian New Year comprising of two words; “Now” meaning new and “Ruz” meaning day, which when combined together means “New Day”. It’s the most important festival of the year in Iran which is publically celebrated.

  1. When it happens?

Instead of counting down to midnight, Iranians count down to the exact moment of the vernal equinox, which varies every year. This usually happens on the 20 of March, and it marks the first day of the Persian Calendar. Nowruz marks the end of the old year and the beginning of a new one. The first day of the new year ( Farvardin) follows 12 more days of joyous festivity.

  1. Which countries celebrate Nowruz?

Nowruz (the Persian New Year) is Iran’s most famous holiday. Besides Iran, Nowruz is celebrated in many other countries as well, which include: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, as well as among the Kurds of Iraq and Turkey, the Zoroastrians and Shia Muslims of India and Pakistan, and the Uygur, Salar, Tajik, and Kazakh ethnic groups of China.

Even in the European nations, such as the United States and Canada, urban areas with huge Iranian diaspora communities hold Nowruz festivities as well.

  1. What’s the story behind Nowruz?

No one knows exactly how far back Nowruz dates. The best estimates sit somewhere in the range of 3,000 years. But the most important thing to know about Nowruz’s origin story is that it’s rooted in Zoroastrianism, an ancient Persian religion that predates both Christianity and Islam. It seems that Iranians are at least 1000 years ahead of the Western world with the concept of New Year’s Eve…


  1. How is it celebrated?

The preparation for Nowruz stars couple of days before that. Everyone should prepare themselves for guests by “khuneh tekuni “(literally shaking the houses) or spring cleaning. A few years ago, you would be witnessed of the countless Persian rugs hanging outside, where their owners can beat the dust out of them.

Everything’s needed for decorative table called, Haft-Sin should be provided. “Haft sin” refers to “haft” (the number seven) and “sin” (the Persian letter “S”) which are the seven items with initial “S” (in Persian language of cours) that symbolize a different hope for the new year. Every items including the “seven s” is obvious in the below picture.

In the evening of the last Wednesday before Nowruz, bonfires are lit and people jump over the flames. The flames burn away sickness and bad luck.

Once the New Year is started, families are gathered together to celebrate the beginning of spring and do so in hopes they will always be surrounded by healthy and clean surroundings.

Nowruz is like several western holidays wrapped into one! Painted eggs typical of Easter, the exchange of gifts at Christmas, Haji Firooz like Santa Claus and knocking on doors asking for treats like Halloween (though without the scary costumes) and shopping sprees almost like Black Friday.

  1. What’s the special meal of this event?

A traditional Nowruz meal calls for the staples sabzi polo bâ mâhi, a fragrant herb pilaf with whitefish, and kuku sabzi, a frittata made with various herbs such as coriander, dill, parsley, fenugreek, tarragon, and others.

And the final question:

  1. How to Say Happy Nowruz in Farsi?

“Saal-e-no mobaarak” (سال نو مبارک)


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