Every year, millions celebrate Nowruz! In Iran, the new year begins with the advent of spring where those who celebrate go through a deep cleaning of their homes, celebrating a season of life and wishing good luck in the year ahead!
WHAT IS NOWRUZ?
Nowruz marks the end of the old year and the beginning of a new one, and it occurs on the day of the vernal equinox. No one knows exactly how far back Nowruz dates. The best estimates sit somewhere in the range of 3000 years. Nowruz's origin story is rooted in zoroastrianism, an ancient Persian Religion that predates both christianity and Islam.
PREPERATION FOR THE BIG DAY!
People start getting ready for Nowruz about three weeks before the actual vernal equinox. Everyone goes into serious spring-cleaning mode, ridding their homes of any unneccesary clutter and lingering grime thats settled in over the past year so they can start fresh
In these weeks leading up to the actual day, families set aside a "haft-seen", or a collection of items that symbolize a different hope for the new year! While some families add their own variations to the haft-seen, there are seven things that are always included.
1. Sabzeh: Some kind of sprout or grass that will continue to grow in the weeks leading up to the holiday, for rebirth and renewal.
2. Senjed: Dried fruit, ideally a sweet fruit from a lotus tree, for love
3. Sib: Apples, for beauty and health
4. Seer: Garlic, for medicine and taking care of oneself
5. Serkeh: Vinegar, for the patience and wisdom that comes with aging
6. Samanu: A sweet pudding, for wealth and fertility
7. Sumac: A persian spice made from crushed sour red berries, for the sunrise of a new day.
While these seven items are the foundation of a haft-seen, the traditions has evolved to the point where there are several other things you can include. For example, some people include a mirror symbolizing reflections, colored eggs for fertility, coins for prosperity and maybe a live goldfish for new life.
Once the day of Nowruz arrives, it kicks off a 13-day celebration of dinners, family visit, and reflections on the year ahead. On the 13th day, those who celebrate take the sabzeh growing in the haft-seen to a natural body of water having it float away to release the old and usher in the New Year.
NOWRUZ IS A CELEBRATION OF THE POSSIBILITY OF NEW LIFE
As is fitting for persian and Zoroastrian culture, the ceremonies surrounding Nowruz center on community, family and a deep respect for tradition!
Nowruz is about closing the door on one chapter and turning the page to the next one with excitment. The hope of being able to start new, and better is very universal- which could be a plausible reason as to why the tradition survived generation upon generation for thousands of years!
The Iris and Evelyn Team would like to wish all those celebrating a safe, prosperous and fantastic Nowruz. For those not celebrating, have a sun-filled first day of spring!
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