Happy (Iranian) New Year

Nowruz, haft sin From left to right: serkeh (vinegar), sekkeh (coins), sabzi (sprouts), sonbol (hyazinth, sib (apple), mahi qermez (goldfish) in a bowl of water, senjed (dried fruit of the oleaster tree), lit candles and a mirror
Haft Sin – from left to right: serkeh (vinegar), sekkeh (coins), sabzi (sprouts), sonbol (hyacinth,sir (garlic), sib (apple), mahi qermez (goldfish) in a bowl of water, senjed (dried fruit of the oleaster tree), lit candles and a mirror

Happy Nowruz to everyone!!!

Today Iranians and a lot of other cultures celebrate their New Year and the arrival of spring. A joyful time where families and friends visit each other and take part in plenty of traditions.

The most important tradition is the special table setting haft sin upon a teghmeh, a kind of table-cloth, with at least seven items starting with the letter ‘s’. The objects sometimes differ and also others get added. Each item on the haft sin has a deep symbolic meaning. For example the goldfish stands for life within life.

The feast goes back until ancient times and origins in Zoroastrian culture and belief. Through modifying some of its symbolism it has survived through islamic times till now. And by no means celebrating ends just after one day! Oh yes, festivities go on for further 13 days. On sizdah be dar everybody will be out in the nature picnicking and with throwing out the greens from the haft sin into some flowing water people afterwards finally go back to their regular life.

But this still not all, it is coming even better. Celebrating starts actually before Nowruz. At night before the last Wednesday of the old year little fires get lighted and young people jump over them. Very much like Nubbel here. In Iran young folks can go really berserk at this night but this was my favorite spectacle as a child.

There was just one element I didn’t like at the feasts as a child and this was the appearance of Haji Firuz, the herald of Nowruz. But this was only because the dirty face paint scared me, actually it is a sweet character. With a blackened face and a red costume as signs of luck he sings and dances through streets with a tambourine and heralds the coming of the New Year.

Haji Firuz at Park Mellat in Tehran
Haji Firuz at Park Mellat in Tehran

And how sweet is this Persian animation clip about Nowruz:

German readers if you would like to know more my friend Shohreh wrote a nice article at qantara.

I also created a board on Pinterest around this Fest.


6 thoughts on “Happy (Iranian) New Year

  1. Great post. I didn’t understand a word in the video, but it was well drawn and I liked the rhythm. I had never thought about New Year’s being celebrated differently in the Middle East.


    1. 🙂 Thank you. They just sum up and explain everything for children.
      I wonder if there are people in the world celebrating New Year’s at a even more different time like in autumn…


    1. A wonderful new spring to you, too!!!

      I found the clip via Pinterest. The lyrics are so catchy even if you don’t understand any Persian, aren’t they? 🙂


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