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Persian New Year!

Since today is Nowruz (also known as Persian New Year), I thought it would be fitting to have a post about it.

On March 20th of 2012, marks the first day of the Persian New Year, the year 1391 in the Persian Calender (usually it was on the 21st of March but it does change a bit every year)

The occasion, called Nowruz in Persian-Speaking countries which translates into 'New Day', is one of the richest parts of the Persian Heritage. The festival is celebrated throughout the Persian Speaking world and Greater Iran. The festival is thought to have originated from the Achaemenid era (some have said it originated as early as 15,000 years ago!)

Here is a good video that primarily explains it, worth a watch (but nevermind the horrible quality!)



Here's a good deal of information about it

The UN's General Assembly in 2010 recognized the International Day of Nowruz, describing it a spring festival of Persian origin which has been celebrated for over 3,000 years
It is principally observed in:
  Iran
Afghanistan
  Albania
  Uzbekistan
  Kazakhstan
  Azerbaijan
  Tajikistan
Georgia
  Iraqi_Kurdistan
  Turkmenistan
  Kyrgyzstan
  Kosovo

Each Persian family makes a special table filled with all sorts of goods like :

Click the image to open in full size.

As you can see, it includes :
  • sabzeh -
     Wheat Barley
    or
    Lentil
    sprouts growing in a dish - symbolizing rebirth
  • Samanu
    - a sweet pudding made from
    Wheat_germ
    - symbolizing affluence
  • senjed - the dried fruit of the
     Elaeagnus_angustifolia
    tree - symbolizing love
  • sīr -
    Garlic
    - symbolizing medicine
  • sīb -
     Apple
    - symbolizing beauty and health
  • somaq -
     Sumac
    berries - symbolizing (the color of) sunrise
  • serkeh -
     Vinegar
    - symbolizing age and patience.
Other items on the table may include:
  • Sonbol - Hyacinth (plant)
  • Sekkeh -
     Coins
    - representative of wealth
  • traditional Iranian pastries such as
     Baklava
    , White_Mulberry
    , naan-nokhodchi
  • Aajeel - dried nuts, berries and raisins
  • lit
    Candle
    (enlightenment and happiness)
  • a
     Mirror
    (symbolizing cleanness and honesty)
  •  Egg_decorating
    , sometimes one for each member of the family (fertility)
  • a bowl of water with
     Goldfish
    (life within life, and the sign of Pisces
    Goldfish
    is also "very ancient and meaningful" and with Zoroastrian connection. which the sun is leaving). As an essential object of the Nowruz table, this
  •  Rosewater
    , believed to have magical cleansing powers
  • a holy book (e.g., the
     Avesta
    Qur'an,
     Bible
     Torah
    , or Kitáb-i-Aqdas) and/or a poetry book (almost always either the
     Shahnameh
    or the Divan of
     Hafez
     
    Besides that, family members visit each other (big family gathering) and traditionally involves spring cleaning as well. In fact, Spring cleaning, or Khouneh Tekouni (literally means 'shaking the house') or 'complete cleaning of the house' is commonly performed before Nowruz. Persians and other Indo-Iranian groups (Kurds, Azarbaijanis and Balochs) start preparing for the Nowruz with a major spring-cleaning of their houses, the purchase of new clothes to wear for the new year and the purchase of flowers.
Well, that's just a somewhat brief introduction, I guess. Eid Nowruz Mubarak!

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