Persian New Year (Norooz)
Equinox is the Start of Persian New Year
2016 Persian New Year
Arrives at exactly 11:30 PM Central Time on
Saturday March 19, 2016
“New Day”) is the Iranian New Year. It falls on
the first day of Spring (around March 21st)
which is also Spring Equinox, one of only two
days in a year when the length of day and night
are almost equal.
The first recorded celebration of NOROOZ
dates back to
near 3000 years ago.
In harmony with the rebirth of
nature, the Persian New Year celebration
always begins on the first day of spring.
NOROOZ means the "New Day", and refers to a new
beginning in the new
NOROOZ, the king would receive a long list of
diplomats, government officials and even
ordinary citizens in his palace. On these
occasions, a variety of gifts were exchanged.
What Is This
The religion of ancient Persians at the time was
Zoroastrianism. Persians &
Zoroastrians were strong believers in
“Human Rights”, being “Positive”, “Good” and
“Honest”. Their religious motto was, “Good
Thoughts, Good Deeds and Good Words.”
Celebrating NOROOZ for them meant letting into
their homes all that is “Good,” “Positive” and
“Happy” and getting rid of all things
“Negative.” This is still true for all Iranians
today no matter where they live.
The year changes on the Vernal Equinox or "Saal-Tahveel"
which may occur on March 19, 20, 21 or 22. It
makes its arrival at the precise moment that the
sun crosses the Equator. It is AMOO
NOROOZ (similar to Santa Claus) who kicks out
the winter cold and brings life to nature and
warmth to every household.
To this day, a few weeks before the new year, Persians
thoroughly clean and rearrange their homes. They buy or
make new clothes, bake pastries
and germinate seeds as signs of renewal. The ceremonial cloth known as Haft-Seen
is set up in each household.
Ceremonial Table Setting
or 7 "S"
Haft-Seen or The Table of Seven
S's is a ritualistic table that Persians prepare and sit around at "Saal-Tahveel".
means "seven" in Persian, and
"Seen" is the 15th letter of the Persian
alphabet (which consists of 32 letters) and phonologically corresponds to the
letter S in the English language. The items
are believed to bring good fortune and good
health. The seven items
are chosen for what they symbolize. The number
“Seven” has long been considered a symbol of
good luck and special value in Iranian culture
as well as other cultures.
The following is
a list of "Haft-Seen" items and a brief
description of their symbolic meaning or
actually begins before the first
day of spring. It starts with a “Wednesday Fire Festival”
called “Chahar Shanbeh Suri” (meaning,
“Wednesday Party”) The festival of fire is a
prelude to the ancient NOROOZ festival, which
marks the arrival of spring and revival of
nature. Chahr Shanbeh
Suri, is celebrated the night before the last
Wednesday of the year. The word Chahar Shanbeh
means Wednesday. The
bon fires are lit at the sunset and the idea is
to not let the sun set. Bon fires are lit to
keep the sun alive till early hours of the
morning. The celebration usually starts in the
evening. On this occasion people make bon-fires
on the streets or in parks
and jump over them. The young shoot fireworks
before and during Chaharshanbe Suri.
The tradition includes people going into
the streets and alleys to make fires, and jump
over them while singing the traditional song
Sorkhi-ye to az man; Zardi-ye man az to. The
literal translation is,
Your fiery red color is mine and my
sickly yellow paleness is yours. This is a
purification rite. Loosely translated, this means you want the fire
to take your paleness, sickness and problems and
in turn give you redness, warmth and energy.
Yellow or paleness symbolizes the sickness and
pain and red symbolizes heath.
13th Day Picnic
with an all-day picnic party
on the 13th day of spring called, “Sizdeh Bedar”
(meaning “rid the 13th") .
The tradition of leaving the house on the
day of the new year,
the last day of the NOROOZ period, and spending
that day outside with joy, laughter and pleasure
has been in practice since ancient times in
Iran. This is the last phase of the celebrations
of the New Year. This
joyous celebration has its roots in the
Zoroastrian belief that laughter and joy
symbolize the disposing
of evil and bad
thoughts. According to Zoroastrianism,
evil thoughts are the
gift of Ahreeman (the devil) and the festival of
the New Year will cleanse all evil thoughts. The celebrations defeat
the enemies and plant shoots of comradeship and
peace. The custom of kissing each other on the
cheeks also comes from a belief that it cleanses
On this day People sing,
cook out and play games
to end the holiday season on a positive