Nowruz is the Persian celebration of the new year that begins on the March equinox. In preparation for Nowruz this year, a student in Los Angeles shared the meaning and history behind the holiday, as well as what it means to him as a Christian. We are excited to celebrate new beginnings this year with our Persian friends!
Can you tell me a little about the history of Nowruz and how it is typically celebrated?
Nowruz, or the New Year, is one of the ancient celebrations that has been held for many years. According to some historians, Nowruz has been recognized since Cyrus the Great, the great king of Iran. And it has its ceremony.
Nowruz is 13 days for us, which lasts from the beginning of the new year to the 13th day. But the preparation of Nowruz works starts a couple of days before the New Year.
A couple of days before starting Nowruz, most Iranians clean the house, washing the carpets and the whole part of the house. They believe that everything should be cleaned by the beginning of the new year and wear clean and new clothes. Buying new clothes for young children has always been fun and exciting. But the feeling of the beginning of the new year even made cleaning the home enjoyable.
The second step is setting up the Haft-Sin (table) (7 Sin):
Which are seven things that start with S in Farsi:
2.Senjed = Oleaster
3.Seke = Coin
4.Sir = Garlic
5.Serke = Vinegar
6.Sabze = Sprouting plant
7.Sib = apple
At the moment of the New Year, all the families gather around Haft sin (7 Sin) and celebrate the New Year together.
We also use a series of decorative items like a watch and colored eggs and a mirror.
The contents of the Haft-Sin table today each have their symbolic meaning: “Samnoo,” which is one of the fresh sprouts of wheat, is a sign of strength and struggle. “Senjed” conveys the concept of love and affection as well as childbirth. “Coin” is a symbol of blessing, sustenance, and wealth. Apple is a fruit of paradise and a sign of beauty and health. “Garlic” conveys the concept of refraining from oppression and violating the rights of others. “Vinegar” is also a symbol of satisfaction and submission. The “colored egg” symbolizes sperm and race, and the “mirror” symbolizes purity and transparency. Espand is also to get rid of disease and health.
When the New Year comes, families visit their families and acquaintances in the first few days of the year and congratulate them on the New Year. While families visit other families, older people give children money (the money in Farsi is Called “eydi”).
The last Sept is Sizdah Bedar, Sizdah in farsi means 13.
From ancient times, after twelve days of celebration and joy, Iranians would go to nature, the garden, and the desert on the thirteenth day of Nowruz and rejoice and end Nowruz. The ancient Iranians celebrated this day (April 4, which is the 13th day of Nowruz) in nature to protect themselves from its misfortune. One of the rituals of this day is to tie the grass and throw it away, or in other words, to water the grass. In the past, lucky girls and boys tied the greens and wished to start a family in the new year.
What does Nowruz mean to you?
Nowruz is a feeling of freshness and a new beginning for everyone. Cleaning houses, wearing clean and new clothes, visiting family and friends, getting Eydi ( Money) from adults that felt beautiful for children. Nowruz in Persian means “a new day that begins with the beginning of the new year.” For all the people who celebrate it, the beginning of Nowruz has always been a feeling of joy and happiness. The feeling we have before starting the new year is like spring blossoms, the trees breathing in the spring, and the sense of starting again. We still celebrate Nowruz; it is a tradition from ancient times that still exists.
Is there any spiritual significance to Nowruz (especially for you as a Christian)?
Starting anything for humans is like having another chance at life. When I was baptized, the moment I got up from the water was a new beginning for me; a new life is given to me by God; the moment I thank God for that. Nowruz is a feeling like having another opportunity in the new year, a new year that God gives to human beings. For me, the New Year always begins with praying for our health, breathing, lives, etc. And we always pray that Jesus Christ will protect all human beings and soothe their hearts.