Nowruz is one of the ancient festivals of Iranians, which is celebrated every year at the beginning of the new year, coinciding with Farvardin 1, this day is more magnificent than every other day of the year. Therefore, Nowruz is a national holiday for the people of Iran, which is celebrated in every region of this country with particular customs. In the meantime, the Nowruz official holiday provides an opportunity for families to see and visit relatives and rest, prepare for different domestic and foreign trips and make the memory of these days more lasting.
Nowruz in ancient Iran deals with the background, ceremonies, and events related to Nowruz in ancient Iran. Nowruz dates back to the times before the formation of Iran and before the period of the Medes and Achaemenids, but its name is not in the Avesta. Since three thousand BC, two Eids have been popular in Central Asia and Western Asia, the Eid of Creation in early autumn and the Eid of Resurrection which is celebrated at the beginning of spring. Later, two autumn and spring Eids became one Eid, and people celebrated it in the spring.
Getting to know Nowruz
Eid means joy and happiness that are repeated every year. They said: The day when people gather together is called Eid. Ragheb Esfahani has taken Eid from the word “Oud” which means returning to the favorable state of the past. Nowrooz is one of the famous festivals of ancient Iran, which Iranian people celebrate with the arrival of the new year and congratulate each other on this Eid.
Norooz is one of the festivals of ancient Iran, which people still celebrate more magnificently every year after the passing of years. Nowruz is associated with the beginning of the new year, and people follow different customs during these days and congratulate each other on the new year. Join us for a more detailed review of this celebration with a history of three thousand years.
Nowrooz is a word in the Middle Persian language and has its roots in the Avesta language. In today’s language, this word is interpreted in two ways:
Common Nowruz: The day on which the new year begins and is known as the spring equinox day (the equality of night and day.)
Special Nowruz: The sixth day of Farvardin is called special Norooz, which is referred to as “Khordad Day.”
In ancient times, Nowruz was known as “Nava Sarda,” and means New Year. During the Achaemenid period, Nowruz was also known as “Nosard” and “Nosarji.”
In the solar calendar, the first day of Farvardin is called the beginning of Nowruz. Nowrooz begins when the sun crosses the equatorial plane of the earth and moves to the north of the sky. This starting moment is called the first moment of Aries. In the solar calendar, Noruz is considered equal to Hormuz day or Ormuzd day in the month of Farvardin.
Nowruz is the first day of spring, and nature wakes up from a long sleep and resumes its life. Iranians also celebrate the beginning of the new season of nature every year. They try to mark a renewed and loaded season in their lives by clearing their hearts.
We know the ancient festival of the Persian new year with customs and rituals such as cleaning the house, seeing and visiting, Haft Sin, colored eggs, eating vegetable pilaf with fish, etc. The first four days of Farvardin are considered the official holiday of Nowruz, and people go to see their relatives and congratulate each other on the new year. The 12th and 13th of Farvardin are the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Thirteen Badr and are considered official holidays.
The philosophy of Nowruz
Nowrooz is a heritage that is celebrated every year at the beginning of the new year in different parts of the world, especially in Iran and Afghanistan. Of course, the beginning of the new year in some other countries such as Turkey, Tajikistan, Georgia, Russia, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, etc. is also accompanied by several days of official holidays, and people celebrate the arrival of these days.
According to the existing legendary narratives, Norooz was created during the time of Jamshid, the fourth king of Pishdadi Iran. Avesta, one of the oldest books of ancient Iran, it is mentioned a person named Jamshid who had the power of Farah Izadi. With Ahura Mazda’s order, Jamshid began to fight against Ahriman; Because Ahriman caused much damage at that time, including famine and drought.
After Jamshid defeats the Ahriman, happiness and blessings return to the land of Iran, and the drought disappears. People later named this day “Nowruz” or “New Day” and immortalized this ancient celebration by planting barley in a pot.
Famous poets and writers such as Abulqasem Ferdowsi, Aburihan Biruni, and Tabari also consider Jamshid to be the chief founder of Nowrooz.
In another narration in the Shahnameh, it is stated that Jamshid, on his journey to Azerbaijan, ordered a bed and a splendid crown to be prepared for him. When the sun shines on this gorgeous crown, the world becomes full of light, and because of people’s happiness, “Nowruz” is born.
The origin of Nowruz in Iran
Nowrooz is one of the significant events in the solar calendar of Iranians. This national holiday starts on Farvardin 1st, and people celebrate the Nowruz holiday. Persian new year is one of the oldest festivals left over from ancient Iran, and after three thousand years, it has kept the national bond strong.
Until now, none of the researchers and historians could claim when did Nowruz celebration come to our country. But the remaining works prove that Norooz was celebrated during the Achaemenid period. Even during the Sassanid period, Nowruz was expressed as “Nug Roch” in Middle Persian, but over time, the word Nowruz was created by removing “G” and changing “Ch” to “Z.”
In ancient history and the Hindu scriptures, everyone attributed Nowruz to King Jam or Jamshid of Pishdadi. When Jamshid leaves his palace in the south of Lake Urmia, he is impressed by the freshness and pleasantly of spring and its natural beauty, and he names that day Noruz and officially announces to arrange particular customs and traditions every year on this day and celebrates the renewal of nature.
Therefore, in general, the origin and time of Nowruz in Iran are not known. But some historical narratives attribute the beginning of Norooz to the Babylonians, that is, the time of Cyrus the Great’s attack on Babylon. Also, according to some other narrations, Zoroaster was the founder of Nowruz.
The officialization of Nowruz in Iran
According to the narratives, the essential origin of Nowrooz is in ancient Iran. But according to historians, the Sumerians should be mentioned as the first human civilization to hold the first Nowruz celebration. Therefore, Noruz reached Sumer to Akkad, and from there to Babylon and Assyria. Then it transferred from the Elamites as the initiators of civilization in Iran to the Achaemenid and Sasanian periods, etc.
Cyrus the Great was the first Iranian king and the founder of the Achaemenid dynasty, who officially named Nowruz in 538 (BC) and made this day a national holiday. On this day, Cyrus implemented special programs such as promoting the rank of soldiers, cleaning public places and houses, and pardoning convicts in prison.
The observance of this ritual continued during the time of other Achaemenid kings so the Nowruz celebration was held in Persepolis during the time of Darius I of Achaemenid. On the Nowrooz, a gold coin was minted with the image of a soldier shooting. It is notable that during the Achaemenid period, the Noruz celebration was very long, and from Esfand 21 to Ordibehesht 19, people used to feast and celebrate.
Global registration of Nowruz
In general, Nowruz has Iranian roots and is more than 3 thousand years old, but this day is also celebrated in other countries. Therefore, the United Nations General Assembly registered Nowruz in its calendar on March 4, 2009, corresponding to February 23, 2010, and accordingly, March 21 was recognized as the “International Day of Nowruz” in the Gregorian calendar. Also, on the eighth of Mehr 1388, the scientific and cultural organization of the United Nations, known as UNESCO, registered Nowruz as a world heritage.
Therefore, on the 7th of April 2009, for the first time, the world celebration of Nowrooz was held in Tehran with the presence of heads of different countries, and every year this ancient ritual is celebrated by hosting one of the countries. Also, in 1391, Nowruz was celebrated for the first time in the public arena of the United Nations and UNESCO, hosted by Iran.
It should be noted that the official holiday in Iran on the Persian new year coincides with the first 4 days of Farvardin, but schools are closed until the 13th day of Noruz.
Customs of Nowruz
The customs and traditions of the ancient celebration of the Persian new year, in other words, Nowruz, have an Iranian color and identity, and these days are a symbol of the bond between Iran’s tribes and people. This spring celebration is an ancient promise of the regrowth of nature and the birth of plants, and people believe that with the renewal of nature, you should wear new clothes and celebrate with your loved ones.
Accordingly, in the solar calendar, Nowrooz, as a symbol of the victory of good over evil, has coincided with the moment of handing over the year on the first day of Farvardin. Therefore, from the past to the present, these days have been accompanied by particular customs, among which we will mention the following.
Fire Festival (Chaharshanbe Suri)
Persian new year celebration starts on the night of the last Tuesday of the year and on this day, people celebrate Chaharshanbe Suri with peculiar customs and light a fire with every family on the roof or the surrounding area of their house and jump over it and believe by jumping over the fire, all diseases will be removed from the person. Eavesdropping, spooning, jar breaking, reciting the Shahnameh, etc., are among the most important customs of the Chaharshanbe Suri, which are still prevalent in some regions.
Among the other customs of the Iranian people in Norooz, we can mention housecleaning. So that on the eve of Noruz in Iran, the whole house and its accessories are washed and cleaned.
One of the traditional rituals that are still common among families is spreading the Nowruz table, which is known as the Haft Sin table. On this table, elements such as garlic, Sabze, Samano, coins, oleaster, apple, Quran, fishbowl, colored eggs, and food items such as nuts and sweet fruits are placed, and all the family members gather around it and pray for the delivery of the year.
On the 13th day of Farvardin, known as the Thirteen Badr, Iranian people go to the heart of nature by collecting things such as food and others, and by tying greens, they tie their lives with the joy and freshness of nature and refresh their souls.
Traveling during Nowruz
The 4-day official holiday and the 13-day school holiday are the best opportunities for Iranian families to prepare for Noruz domestic and foreign trips and to go sightseeing during these days. For this reason, planning for Norooz travel is one of the most important concerns of many families in the last months of the year, and some choose domestic travel to one of the different cities of the country, and some are looking for foreign travel to create a diverse holiday.
Persian New Year pray
People pray at the beginning of the new year and ask God to restore their condition to the best and change their life as he thinks is better. The transformation is for the hearts to move away from what is ungodly, the insights to be enlightened, the consciences to come to their senses, and people to take higher steps towards evolution and join God. The transformation of the present means that we make spiritual changes in ourselves and give up the sensual airs that lead to man’s destruction.
One of the traditions of Nowruz is giving gifts to children and minors. This action is an excellent tradition; Because it deepens the love between adults and children.
Another famous custom during the Nowrooz holiday is seeing, visiting, and going to the house of friends and family. According to this custom, people who may not have seen each other in the past year meet again and refresh their past memories.