March is a month packed full of festivals from so many different religions and beliefs, from Christianity to Islam to Hinduism and Judaism, and one such special significant day is the festival of Nowruz. Nowruz, also known as Iranian New Year, is celebrated traditionally by people from all religions and cultures across Central Asia within countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey and Syria. Nowruz marks the arrival of spring and is celebrated around the 20th-21st March every year. As with most festivals celebrating spring, Nowruz represents themes of rebirth, the renewal of new life and the brighter, happier days to come. Houses are cleaned thoroughly, old items are thrown away or repaired and fresh new clothes and items are bought, all signifying the discarding of old habits from the previous year, ready for happiness and positivity for the year ahead. Homes are decorated with flowers to symbolise the fresh new life ahead - with the hyacinth (called sonbul) being the most popular springtime flower to decorate with. Brightly coloured fresh new clothes are worn, families and friends are visited, money and gifts are given and bonfires are lit- where it is tradition to jump over these fires for good luck. Festivities usually end after thirteen days, with the last day being a traditional family picnic in the countryside, full of folk singing and dancing. For feasting, tables are adorned with foods only starting with the letter 's', as this letter holds special meaning within ancient Persian culture where it represents nature. Dishes generally contain wheat or bean sprouts (sabze), vinegar (serke), apples (seeb), garlic (sir), fruit from lotus trees (senjed), a wheat-based pudding called samanu, a red spice called sumac, and wild olives called senjed.
this week and have been participating in different activities to understand more about it. We would like to wish you all a happy Nowruz if you are celebrating, and invite you to share your experiences with us, if you so wish. Nowruz Mubarak!