Norouz Persian New Year
Norouz, also spelled Nowruz or Nawroz, is the Persian New Year celebrated by millions of people worldwide, particularly in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and parts of Central Asia. The word "Norouz" means "New Day" and it marks the first day of the Persian calendar, which falls on the spring equinox, usually around March 21st.
Norouz is a festival of renewal, growth, and fertility, and it is celebrated with many customs and traditions that have been passed down for thousands of years. People clean their homes thoroughly before Norouz and decorate them with flowers, particularly hyacinths and tulips, and various types of fruits and nuts. They also set up a special table called "Haft-sin," which includes seven items starting with the Persian letter "sin" (س), symbolizing the seven creations and holy immortals in Zoroastrianism.
The items typically include sabzeh (sprouted wheat or lentils), samanu (a sweet pudding made from wheat germ), senjed (dried fruit of the oleaster tree), serkeh (vinegar), seer (garlic), somaq (sumac), and seeb (apple). Other items, such as coins, candles, a mirror, and a Quran or poetry book, may also be added to the table.
During Norouz, people visit friends and family, exchange gifts and greetings, and eat special foods such as fish, rice dishes, and sweets like baklava and halva. They also engage in various traditional activities, such as jumping over bonfires, reciting poetry, and playing games like "egg-knocking."
Norouz has been celebrated for over 3,000 years and is deeply rooted in Persian culture and history. It is a time for people to come together, renew their spirits, and look forward to a new year full of joy, prosperity, and good fortune.