- Kamran Mofid
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Hello, spring! Hello, Norouz!
'Nowruz is a relic of past days, a remnant from the dawn of human civilization. It removes religious, cultural, lingual, and national boundaries and connects the hearts of millions of people who want to take part in a unique ceremony marking not only the beginning of New Year, but the end of the distressed winter and arrival of the delightful spring. It’s not simply a source of honor for Iranians who observe and celebrate it, but an opportunity for the congregation and solidarity of all the peace-loving and peace-making nations around the world.’-Foreign Policy Journal
Darius the Great receiving greetings and gifts from governors and ambassadors.
Nowruz, known as the Persian new year, is one of the most ancient celebrations in history and has been celebrated for around 4000 years in what is now Iran and in the extended cultural area known as Greater Iran, the Persian Empire. However, some history experts believe that Nowruz has been enshrined and observed for more than 15,000 years, well before the official establishment of the Persian Empire.
Norouz is an ancient celebration with the spring equinox as the main event occurring on 20 or 21 March every year. During ancient times, Persian kings greatly emphasized the importance of this event and invited people from around the empire who were of different ethnicities and followers of different religions, to the royal court for celebrations and receiving gifts. After thousands of years, Nowruz remains to be the most important celebration for Iranians as well as for around 300 million people in the neighboring countries of Iran, who together celebrate the arrival of spring and the rebirth of nature.
It’s Time To Renew our Lives
"And as it is for spring flowers, so it is for us.”
“Whether we know it or not, our lives are acts of imagination and the world is continually re-imagined through us.”
Deep in the recesses of our hearts, a voice cries out. A fire awaits to be reignited, driving us to change.
“Live a different life,” the voice says “Live it well.” Think Good-Say Good-Act Good.
Norouz’s Celebratory Table (Haft Seen) representing a symbolic meaning such as rebirth, patience, beauty, health, prosperity and love. Photo:turmericsaffron.com
What is Haft Seen (which literally means “seven S’s”)?
- Sabzeh: Some kind of sprout or grass that will continue to grow in the weeks leading up to the holiday, for rebirth and renewal
- Senjed: Dried fruit, ideally a sweet fruit from a lotus tree, for love
- Sib: Apples, for beauty and health
- Seer: Garlic, for medicine and taking care of oneself
- Samanu: A sweet pudding, for wealth and fertility
- Serkeh: Vinegar, for the patience and wisdom that comes with ageing
- Sumac: A Persian spice made from crushed sour
Happy Norouz (Eide shoma mobarak): Happy New Year to You
In harmony with the rebirth of nature, the Persian New Year Celebration, or Norooz (Norouz), always begins on the first day of spring (20 or 21 March, depending on where it is observed). Norooz ceremonies with thousands of years history are symbolic representations of two ancient concepts - the End and the Rebirth; or Good and Evil.
With various local pronunciations and spellings, Norooz, meaning 'New Day' is the traditional Iranian new year holiday celebrated by Iranian people and initiated in Ancient Iran. Apart from Iran, the celebration has spread in many other parts of the world (specially the parts which belonged to the Greater Iran) including parts of West Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, Northwestern China, the Caucasus, between kurdish population of Turkey, the Crimea, Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo and the Republic of Macedonia, amongst others.
The term Nowruz first appeared in Persian records in the second century AD, but it was also an important day during the time of the Achaemenids (c. 648-330 BC), where kings from different nations under the Persian empire used to bring gifts to the emperor (Shahanshah) of Persia on Nowruz.
We wish you all a very Happy Norouz. Hope this year will bring you much happiness and well-being, joy, contentment and inner peace. This journey we call life, is too short, too unpredictable and too fragile. Thus, let us come together in the time-honoured tradition of Norouz declaring our love for each other, our love for nature and our kinship for all living things. Happy Norouz, Happy New Year.
Kamran& Anne Mofid
Watch a short video on Norouz
It is heartening to note that the Day that Norooz is celebrated (March 20) has been declared the International Day of Happiness by the United Nations. See below: