Nowruz is the Persian new year which begins on the first day of spring and is the first day of Farvardin, the first month of the Iranian solar calendar. It is celebrated worldwide by various ethno-linguistic groups, and falls on or around March 21.

Nowruz has Iranian and Zoroastrian origins; however, it has been celebrated by diverse communities for over three thousand years in Western Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Basin, the Balkans, and South Asia.

We celebrate Nowruz by eating rice and fish, going to meet our elders, giving people gifts and presents, and throw parties. We also believe it is the day for forgiveness and we encourage each other to forgive and reconcile those we think have wronged us.

Part of Nowruz is Haft-sin. Haft-sin is an arrangement of seven symbolic items whose names start with the letter “س” pronounced as “seen” the 15th letter in the Persian alphabet; haft (هفت) is Persian for seven. The following are the primary items of Haft-sin, whose Persian names begin with the letter س in the Persian alphabet.

  1. Sabzeh (سبزه) – wheat, barley, mung bean, or lentil sprouts grown in a dish.
  2. Samanu (سمنو) – wheat germ sweet pudding.
  3. Senjed (سنجد) – Oleaster
  4. Serkeh (سرکه) – vinegar.
  5. Seeb (سیب) – apple.
  6. Seer (سیر) – garlic.
  7. Somāq (سماق) – sumac.

Coins (سکه sekke), hyacinth (سنبل sonbol), and clock (ساعت saat) are sometimes included too. Other symbolic items that are typically used to accompany Haft-sin include a mirror, candles, painted eggs, goldfish, and traditional Persian confections. A “book of wisdom” is also commonly included, which might be the Quran, the Bible, the Avesta, the Shahnameh, or the divān of Hafez.

In Iran, the Nowruz holidays last thirteen days. On the thirteenth day of the New Year, Iranians leave their houses to enjoy nature and picnic outdoors, as part of the Sizdah be-dar ceremony. Sizdah Bedar (Thirteen Outdoor) also known as Nature’s Day is held on the thirteenth day of Farvardin during which people spend time picnicking outdoors. It marks the end of the Nowruz holidays in Iran.

On that day, we celebrate the beautiful mother nature we have and encourage each other to take care of it. Also, “Lie of the Thirteenth” is the Iranian version of the prank-playing April Fools’ Day which is observed on the first or second day of April in Iran, on the day of Sizdah Bedar.

Nowruz is a nice holiday. It brings us joy and happiness and time to spend with family and friends. It’s one of the nicest holidays I know. Everybody is happy, everybody is joyful, everybody is friendly and everybody is just a human being, regardless of differences we have.

Happy Nowruz everybody. Wish you a great new year.