Nowruz Celebration - Iran (Persia)

Nowruz or New Day, as a powerful evidence to Iranian civilization, is the first day of spring when the sun enters the point of vernal Equinox. The time when the sun in its course passes the earth equator and go to the north of the sky that in solar timeline marks the first day of Farvardin. Farvardin is the first month of solar year, the day of Hurmuz or Ohrmazd.

The spring Equinox is one of the two equinoxes of earth that occur every year, the other one is autumn equinox. Nowruz is known as the anniversary of nature awakening from hibernation, the resurrection and rebirth of the life that has been celebrated for over 2000 years. In mythology, the Nowruz is attributed to the Jamshid, the forth king of Pishdadian, the first mythological Iranian dynasty. However, based on history, at the time of Achaemenian, magnificent ceremonies were held while the representatives of different nation were brought to the presence of the Achaemenid King and delivered gifts to the court as it is witnessed in the bas-reliefs of the Persepolis. During Sassanid dynasty, the Nowruz was celebrated more completely. At that time, the taxes were presented to the king while the king appointed and dismissed his governors and received people in the court. Iranian believe that in the last 10 days of the year, the spirits returns to the material world, thus, they honor this period to appease the spirits of their deceased ancestors.

Nowruz is known as the anniversary of nature awakening from hibernation, the resurrection and rebirth of the life that has been celebrated for over 2000 years.

On Nowruz festival, Iranian celebrate the arrival of spring, family members get together usually in the house of the eldest member, to celebrate the ritual. Iranian make a table that is called Haft Sin. Haft Sin includes seven natural substances that begin with the sound /S/. The table is covered with a table cloth that can be a Termeh or Sofreh Qalamkar. Then the table is filled with dishware that hold one of the substances. 7 is considered as a holy number that carries luck, fortune and spirituality, and therefore,  7 items were chosen to adorn the Sofreh Haft Sin or the Nowruz table.

Iranian make a table that is called Haft Sin. Haft Sin includes seven natural substances that begin with the sound /S/.

The first item to be put in the Sofreh is Senjed (Russian olive) that symbolizes the rational and thoughtful actions. By putting it first, Iranian promise themselves to start everything with much thought and consideration. The second item is Sib (apple) that stands for Health, a wish for a healthy life, healthy mind and healthy society. The third Sin is Sabzeh (grass), the epitome of dedication and freshness. The greenery brings with itself happiness, life and benevolence. The fourth thing to be put on the Sofreh is Samanue. A sweet, thick, brown liquid made of wheat and flour representing power. This highly nutritious substance gives Iranian enough energy to stand against any obstacle in life.  Thus far, we have a rational, healthy, fresh, and powerful human being, but he/she still lacks in many aspects. Now is the time to put Siir on the Sofreh to remind all not to be insolent, dismissive, and prejudiced. Siir is the symbol of justice and contentment in what one has, a force that reminds you to think of others and not just yourself. The next item is Serkeh (Vinegar) that stands for satisfaction and surrender. The life has its own difficulty, one should surrender to the will of God, and the challenges life brings, and pass them with faith. The last Sin is Somaq (Somac), a reminder of hope, of appreciation of goodness in life. The last to be put in the Sofreh, a symbol of patience, of waiting for the better days, and of understanding and appreciating others.

There are also other elements that don’t start with the sound /S/, but have equally deep meaning. Coins are placed in as an act of showing generosity. Book is placed to encourage all to wisdom and knowledge. Mirror is placed as a symbol of brightness with candles that provide light and warmness. At last, the fishbowl and fish that represent prosperity and blessing in life.

Nowadays Nowruz is celebrated in several parts of the world and by many nations in the Middle East, Central and South Asia. In 2010, Nowruz was registered at UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritages of Humanity by all countries that celebrate this eve with Iran being one of these countries.