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International Nowruz day - 1403

Nowruz is a time when people wish for prosperity and new beginnings. An important tradition practiced during this time is the gathering around ‘the Haft sin Table,’ decorated with objects that symbolize purity, brightness, livelihood, and wealth, to enjoy a special meal with loved ones. In the time of great challenges, Nowruz promotes dialogue, good neighborliness, and reconciliation.

Nowruz, spelled and pronounced differently in various countries, translates to 'new day' and symbolizes the onset of spring. Celebrated on the astronomical vernal equinox, typically March 21st, this international occasion marks the beginning of the new year for over 300 million people worldwide. For more than 3,000 years, Nowruz has been observed in regions including the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East, and among Iranian communities globally.

Inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009, Nowruz is a cherished cultural tradition observed by many peoples. This ancestral festivity marks the arrival of spring and the rejuvenation of nature. Nowruz promotes values of peace, solidarity, and reconciliation among generations and within families, fostering cultural diversity and friendship among various communities.

Nowruz plays a vital role in strengthening bonds between people through mutual respect and the pursuit of peace and neighborliness. It’s customs and rituals reflect the rich cultural heritage of both Eastern and Western civilizations, which have influenced each other through the exchange of human values.

Celebrating Nowruz signifies a commitment to living in harmony with nature, recognizing the interconnectedness between constructive labor and the natural cycles of renewal, and maintaining a caring and respectful attitude towards the sources of life in nature.

The celebration of Nowruz

In Iran, the traditional figures heralding the Nowruz festival, starting with Charshanbe Suri and ending with Sizdah Bedar, are Amu Nowruz and Haji Firuz, who emerge onto the streets to commemorate the New Year.

Charshanbe Suri

Chaharshanbe Suri serves as a precursor to the New Year. In Iran, it is celebrated on the eve of the last Wednesday before Nowruz. Typically held in the evening, the festivities involve various rituals, including jumping over bonfires and setting off firecrackers and fireworks.

During Chaharshanbe Suri, Iranians leap over fires while reciting the poetic line 'my yellowish is yours, your reddish is mine,' symbolizing a desire to cast away illness and receive warmth, health, and energy in return. Additionally, nuts and berries are commonly served during the celebration.

Another tradition observed on the eve of Chaharshanbe Suri is 'spoon banging,' reminiscent of the Halloween custom of trick-or-treating.

Sizdah Bedar

Nowruz holidays in Iran, span thirteen days. On the thirteenth day, known as Sizdah Bedar, Iranians leave their homes for picnics and to connect with nature. As part of the ceremony, the greenery used in the Haft-sin setting is disposed of, often in flowing water. It's tradition, particularly among young single individuals, especially girls, to tie the leaves of the greenery before discarding, symbolizing a wish for finding a partner. Additionally, Sizdah Bedar is marked by playful pranks and jokes, reminiscent of April Fools' Day.

Nowruz Customs

House Cleaning and Shopping

Preparing for Nowruz typically involves two main tasks: house cleaning and shopping. Prior to the arrival of Nowruz, people engage in a thorough spring cleaning of their homes, ensuring everything is fresh and tidy for the New Year. Additionally, individuals purchase new clothes to wear during the celebrations and buy flowers, with hyacinths and tulips being popular choices for the traditional Haft-sin setting.

Visiting Family and Friends

Throughout the Nowruz holidays, it is customary for people to make visits to the homes of family, friends, and neighbors. Usually, younger individuals initiate visits to their elders, who reciprocate later. Guests are welcomed with tea, pastries, cookies, fresh and dried fruits, mixed nuts, or other snacks. To bridge the gap caused by long distances between friends and family, many Iranians opt to host grand Nowruz parties.

Food Preparation

One of the common foods prepared during Nowruz celebrations is Samanu, a traditional food made from wheat germ. This food is commonly cooked in most countries that observe Nowruz, with some regions having specific rituals associated with its preparation. In various parts of Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, women and girls gather to cook Samanu together, often during nighttime hours, accompanied by songs and chants.

In addition to Samanu, other traditional dishes are prepared for Nowruz festivities. For instance, dill rice with fish is a popular choice for the Eid night meal, while sweets like Nan-e Nokhodchi are enjoyed as well. Cooking special foods for Nowruz is a widespread practice across regions where the holiday is celebrated, each area boasting its unique culinary traditions and sweet treats.


Traditionally, prior to Nowruz, families gather around the Haft-sin table, eagerly awaiting the exact moment of the March equinox to usher in the New Year. The number 7 and the letter S hold significance, representing the seven Amesha Spenta’s from the Zend-Avesta, which correspond to the elements of Fire, Earth, Air, Water, and the life forms of Humans, Animals, and Plants.

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In modern interpretation, the Haft-sin items are simplified to:

Sabze - sprouts of wheat, barley, mung beans, or lentils grown in a dish.

Samanu - a sweet pudding made from wheat germ.

Oleaster (senjed in Farsi)

Vinegar (serke in Farsi)

Apple (sib in Farsi)

Garlic (sir in Farsi)

Sumac (somāq in Farsi)

The Haft-sin table may also feature a mirror, candles, painted eggs, a bowl of water, goldfish, coins, hyacinth, and traditional sweets. Additionally, a "book of wisdom" such as the Quran, the Šāhnāme of Ferdowsi, or the divān of Hafez may be displayed alongside.

In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed International Nowruz Day through resolution A/RES/64/253. This significant step was initiated by several countries that share this cultural holiday. Under the agenda item of 'culture of peace,' member states such as Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Albania, Iran, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan jointly introduced a draft resolution (A/64/L.30) titled 'International Day of Nowruz' during the 64th session of the General Assembly for its consideration and adoption.

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