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Norouz, Iranian’s Ancient New Year

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Norouz is the time of New Year in Iran which begins in the first day of spring. As the spring is the season in which the nature becomes new, Iranians believe that they should also become new by changing bad thoughts and behavior to good ones, so they celebrate this season for their changes that they decide to do in the New Year. They start their work at the beginning of Esfand- the second last month in Persian calendar- they do ‘Khane Tekani‘ which is the extensive spring-cleaning is a national tradition observed by almost every household in Persia to become ready to welcome spring. The night before the last Wednesday of year is in which Iranians celebrate festival of fire which is called ‘Charshanbe Souri‘. This festival is the celebration of the light (the good) winning over the darkness (the bad); in this night Iranians make small fires in the alleys to jump over them while singing the traditional song Zardî-ye man az to, sorkhî-ye to az man (literally: “My yellowness for you, your redness for me; “, but figuratively: My paleness (pain, sickness) for you, your strength (health) for me for exchanging any remaining paleness and evil for the warmth and vibrancy of the fire. Near the time of new year all the members of the family go shopping of new clothes and also buying cookies, fruits, different kinds of pastry and nuts known as Ajîl  small and redfish and also ‘Haft Sinnorouz_11.jpg

or the seven ‘S’s which is a major tradition of Norouz. The haft sin table includes seven items specific starting with the letter S or Sîn (س) in Persian alphabet. As you see in the above picture these are the items of Haft Sin which consist of Sabzeh: wheat, barley and Lentil sprouts growing in a dish symbolizing rebirthSamanu: a sweet pudding made from wheat germ-symbolizing affluenceSerkeh:the dried fruit of the oleaster tree-symbolizing love Sîr: garlic- symbolizing medicine Sîb: apple- symbolizing beauty and healthSomaq: sumac berries- symbolizing (the color of) sunrise Senjed: vinegar- symbolizing age and patience  these items are the major ones but a mirror, a Qur’an, flowers and red fish are also concluded. In the night of new year Iranians make special dishes such as Sabzi Polo Mahi, Reshte Polo, Dolme Barg and Kookoo Sabzi. The traditional herald of the Norouz season is called Hâjji Fîrûz(or Khwaja Pîrûz).

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 He usually uses face paint to make his skin black and wears a red costume. Then he sings and dances through the streets with tambourines and trumpets spreading good cheer and heralds the coming of the New Year.At the moment of new year all the family members sit around  the table to pray for others to have a good year and after arriving the new year they begin ‘Eid Didanivisiting of relatives or friends in the 13 first  dates of Norouz. Every family goes to other relatives’ house and visiting them especially the grand person of family and they give money to children as ‘Eidi‘ to congratulate them. The thirteenth day of the new year festival is ‘Sizdah Be Dar’

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(literally meaning “thirteen to the door”, figuratively meaning “hit the outdoors on the thirteenth“). This is a day of festivity in the open, often accompanied by music and dancing, usually at family picnics. It represents the time of chaos when families put order aside and avoid the bad luck associated with the number thirteen by going outdoors and having picnics and parties. A tradition associated with this day is ‘Dorugh-e Sizdah‘, literally meaning “the lie of the thirteenth”, which is the process of lying to someone and making them believe it (similar to April Fools Day). 

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