Nowruz, the Iranian and Persian New Year, is an annual celebration on March 21st that marks both the beginning of spring and the rebirth and renewal of the year for Iran. It has been celebrated for more than 3,000 years and is the official first day of the Iranian calendar year. As such, you can imagine it prompts quite the celebration.
Nowruz is popular throughout the Middle East, and, in Iran, is often a two-week event used to honor family by sharing festive meals with relatives and cleaning the home. Iranians believe cleansing the home at the beginning of the new year will lead to prosperity throughout the rest of the calendar year. Of course, they also celebrate with a variety of cultural events and ceremonies.
One such event is the haft-seen in Iran, wherein families gather a selection of seven symbolic items, each beginning with the letter “s,” to lay out and showcase to visitors and friends. They also participate in sporting events, like wrestling and horse racing, to get the competitive spirit started at the beginning of the year.
Though a little more laidback than New Year celebrations in America, Nowruz has deep traditional roots in the Middle East and especially Iran. Visiting during this time of the year is a wonderful way to experience a bit of history and learn about the cultural norms of the region.
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