Known as one of the most important celebrations inside the Persian world which has survived throughout history since Ancient times, Nowruz is what Iranians call „The Persian New Year”. The Nowruz festival is celebrated in the day of spring equinox, when the amount of light and dark is equally divided during the day. In that day starts the first day of Persian calendar, celebrated usually on March 21. The Persian New Year has been celebrated for thousands of years by people from different ethnic minorities with different religious backgrounds, and it started in Persia’s capital (Persis/Fars) during the great Achaemenid Empire. Many people inside Middle East and Central Asia are waiting with hope and great excitement the day when oficially, according to this tradition, Spring embraces the nature and their lives. Countries and regions related to Persian history like Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan some parts of India and Kurdistan celebrate this event in March on 21-22. A very popular Nowruz traditional preparation is to grow wheatgrass, the green symbol of a new start for good things to happen.
„Haft-sin” and its symbols
The traditional Nowruz table is called „Haft-sin” and it must be decorated with seven items which are important mythological symbols and whose Persian names begin with the letter „sin” in the Persian alphabet. These items are: sabzeh (wheat, barley), samanu (sweet pudding made from wheat germ), senjed, (Persian olive), serkeh (Vinegar), seeb (apple), seer (garlic), somāq (sumac). There are other symbols found on a traditional Nowruz table and that includes a mirror, candles, paintedd eggs, coins, traditional confectioneries, a bowl of water and a goldfish. Beside them it must be a „book of winsdom” such as Quran, Bible, Ferdowsi’s „Shahnameh” or „The divan” by Hafez.
Hajji Firuz, the messenger of Spring
A charismatic and very famous Nowruz character who’s duty is to annouce the community that Spring has arrived is called Hajji Firuz. Hajji Firuz’s face is covered in soot and he dances through the streets while singing and playing a tambourine.
Different versions of Haft-sin (traditional Nowruz table)
Nowruz traditional dance in Uzbekistan, (local artistic manifestations for celebrating Spring’s arrival).