Press TV, Tehran
Nowruz is just around the corner and Iranians are celebrating it as an ancient festivity marking the first day of spring and the renewal of nature.
Nowruz, a legacy from thousands of years ago, always energizes people celebrating the event to observe many customs and enter the New Year with a totally fresh spirit.
Days before the arrival of Nowruz, Iranians hastily do backlogs and go shopping, to embrace the turn of the Persian year on March 21 with a lot of ceremonial customs waiting to be observed.
Iranians get prepared for Nowruz by cleaning their houses, a custom known as khane-tekani. Dusting and cleaning home appliances and furniture, washing rugs, etc are just part of the house cleaning process.
Moreover, Nowruz festivity has a symbolic item unique to this tradition: Sofre-ye haft seen. The haft-seen spread includes seven items all starting with the letter seen in the Persian alphabet. Iranians say there is a history behind each element including: serkeh (vinegar) symbolizes patience and immortality, sumac is a symbol of love and compassion, seeb (apple) is said to represent health and fertility, senjed (silverberry) is seen as a simulator of love and affection, sabzeh (sprouts) symbolizes rebirth, sir (or garlic) is a symbol of protection in the face of affliction, and samanu represents affluence.
Nowruz provides a good opportunity for families and relatives to get together and visit each other. That is why Nowruz has been regarded as the feast of unification.
The celebration of Nowruz needs a happy ending to make it perfect, so on the last day of this celebration, people go outdoors to celebrate the end of the Nowruz holidays. The last day of Nowruz holidays is called Sizdah Bedar or Thirteen Day out which is also called Nature’s Day.
In 2009, the United Nations proclaimed Nowruz an International event, at the initiative of several countries that share this event including Iran, Afghanistan, India and Turkey. It is now widely known to be a symbol of peace to many people.
About 300 million people worldwide celebrate Nowruz, with traditions and rituals that vary in each country. In Iran, families visit each other and sit around the Haft seen praying for a happy beginning of the New Year.
Nowruz is reminiscent of renewal and a new life. It is something beyond a mere festival; it is a culture which introduces a human civilization.