New year begins at 10:18:37 AM Tehran time on
Saturday March 20, 2004
By Bita R
March 16, 2004
In harmony with the rebirth of nature, the Iranian
New Year celebration, or Noruz, always begins on the
first day of Spring. Noruz ceremonies are symbolic representations
two ancient concepts: the End and
Rebirth of Good and Evil. This celebration and its
rituals date back at least three thousand years. The New Year falls
on the Vernal Equinox or "Saal-Tahveel" which may occur
on March 20th, 21st or 22nd. The New Year makes
at the precise moment when the sun crosses the Equator.
It is Amou
Noruz or Haji Firuz (Uncle New Year, similar to Santa
Claus) who kicks out the winter cold and brings life to nature
and warmth to every
household. People disguise themselves by painting
their faces black and wearing red hats and satin
outfits. Haji Firuz sings and dances through the streets with tambourines,
kettle drums, and trumpets to spread good news about the coming
a non-religious celebration of Spring Equinox. It
has been celebrated by all of major cultures of
ancient Mesopotamia. Sumerians in 3000BC and
Babylonians in 2000 BC, the ancient kingdom of Elam in
Southern Persia in 2000BC and the Akaddians have all
celebrated it in one form or other. Today Noruz has
uniquely Iranian characteristics, which have been
celebrated for at least 3000 years, deeply rooted in the traditions of the Zoroastrian (Parsi) belief
All Iranians still carry out the Spring traditions
celebrate Chaarshanbeh Soori which
takes place on the evening of the last Tuesday of the year. Bon
fires are lit and every one jumps over fire and pray for immunity
from illnesses and misfortune in the coming year.
Persians celebrate New Year for 13 days only, because
traditionally 13 is said to be an unlucky and
unfortunate number so the festival is ended by
spending the 13th day -- Seezdah Bedar --
outdoors with family and friends to avoid bad luck.
The first few days of
the festival are spent visiting
older members of the family other relatives and
friends. Gifts and money are exchanged and sweets and
feasts are consumed.
The ceremonial spread known as Haft-Seen is set up in
each household. "Haft" means "seven" and
"Seen" is the 15th letter of the Persian alphabet which corresponds
to the letter "S". The following seven
things whose names start with Seen/S must be present on any Haft-Seen spread:
1) Sabzeh (sprouts, usually lentil or wheat)
- Represents fertility and rebirth of nature.
2) Seeb (apple): - Represents natural beauty.
3) Samanu (a sweet creamy pudding): - Represents the
virtue of patience.
4) Somaq (somaq berry used as a spice): - Represents
the color of sunrise as the appearance of the sun
symbolises Good conquering Evil.
5) Senjed (the sweet, dry fruit of the Lotus Tree) -
Represents love. It has been said that when the Lotus
Tree is in full bloom, its fragrance and its fruit
make people fall in love and become oblivious to
6) Seer (garlic): - Represents good health.
7) Serkeh (vinegar) - Represents longevity.
that can be seen on the Haft-Seen are:
* Ayneh - Mirror represents reflections
of Creation which according to Persian beliefs, took place on the
first day of Spring.
* On either side of the mirror are two candlesticks
holding a flickering candle for each child in the
family. The candles represent enlightenment and
* Sonbol (Hyacinth) - Spring flowers with the scent of
* Sekkeh (coins) - Represent prosperity and wealth.
* A basket of painted eggs represents fertility.
* A seville orange floating in a bowl of water
represents the earth floating in space.
* A goldfish in a bowl of water represents life
and the end of astral year-picas.
* A flask of rose water known for its magical
* Incense to ward off evil spirits.
Noruz is a celebration of new life.
HAVE A HAPPY Noruz every one!
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