March 21 is the first day of spring. But for about 300 million people around the world, it’s the beginning of a new year, too. Nowruz, which means “new day”, is a holiday marking the arrival of spring and the first day of the year in Iran, whose solar calendar begins with the vernal equinox.
March 21 is the first day of spring. However, for 300 million people around the world, it’s the beginning of a new year, too. Nowruz, which means “new day”, is a holiday marking the arrival of spring and the first day of the year in Iran, whose solar calendar begins with the vernal equinox.
Nowruz plays a significant role in strengthening the ties among peoples based on mutual respect and the ideals of peace and good neighborliness. Its traditions and rituals reflect the cultural and ancient customs of the civilizations of the East, which influenced those civilizations through the interchange of human values.
Celebrating Nowruz means the affirmation of life in harmony with nature, awareness of the inseparable link between constructive labor and natural cycles of renewal and a solicitous and respectful attitude towards natural sources of life.
Moreover, Nowruz festivity has a symbolic item unique to this tradition: The Haft-Seen Table. The haft-seen spread includes seven items all starting with the letter "S" in the Persian alphabet. Iranians say there is a history behind each element including: serkeh (vinegar) symbolizes patience and immortality, sumac is a symbol of love and compassion, seeb (apple) is said to represent health and fertility, senjed (silverberry) is seen as a simulator of love and affection, sabzeh (sprouts) symbolizes rebirth, sir (or garlic) is a symbol of protection in the face of affliction, and samanu represents affluence.
In 2009, the United Nations proclaimed Nowruz an International event, at the initiative of several countries that share this event including Iran, Afghanistan, India and Turkey. It is now widely known to be a symbol of peace to many people.
Nowruz is reminiscent of renewal and a new life. It is something beyond a mere festival; it is a culture which introduces a human civilization.