What is Noruz
In a literal sense translated the word noruz means “new day” , but it really is the name for the Persian new year celebrated in most countries that were the immediate Iran upto two to three hundred years ago, predominantly these are countries who still speak or understand the Parsi or Farsi language, countries mostly with the word –stan at the end of their names.
The word Ostan in Parsi means province, when Ostan is used with a prefix name the O is dropped and becomes stan, Like provinces of Sistan, Baluchestan or Golestan.
Countries of Afghanistan, Tajikstan, Kyrgigstan, Turkmenstan, Pakestan, Dagestan and a part of Kazakstan along with Azerbayejan, Armenia and Georgia which is called Gorjestan in Parsi, who were part of Iran at some stage. With an exception of one or two most of these countries still celebrate Noruz.
As the Islamic rulers of Iran would be happy to testify after 33 years of different & inventive ways of attempting to demote Noruz and promote the Islamic lunar cycle, the government in Iran has miserably failed on this score. I make this judjement based on the fact that the people in Iran or Persia still love and still celebrate Noruz with the same passion of 3000 years ago and it is safe to assume 99.9999% of them do celebrate Noruz.
In a real sense Noruz belongs to followers of the original Persian/Iranian religion called Zardost, many of whome still live in central Iran in cities like Yazd, Khur and Tabas, but the the Iranian nation collectively refuses to give this beautiful ceremony up and move on, pretty much like myself.
From the Chaharshanbe-suri, which is the customary fireworks night on the last Tuesday of the out going year. where people are meant to jump over fire to pass their yellowness to the fire and take the redness of the fire to themselves (old Proverb), to Sizdeh-bedar which the 13th day of the new year where people must go out into the arms of the mother nature to spend the day to avoid bad luck, Iran’s mood is always on a high during Noruz. The superstition that number 13 is unlucky derives from the Persian Sizdeh-bedar. Also on sizdeh bedar bachelors tie up shoots of grass together hoping to meet the right person in the coming year,
The real noruz celebrates the year 2571 this year but in Iran although the new year is always celebrated by the arrival of noruz, the year dates back to Iranian Islamic Calendar 1392 (not arabic) which is 14??. If it was upto me I would change the calendar year in Iran back to 2571 tomorrow.
Noruz is calculated precisely by a complete solar cycle, this means in Iran you never have a leap year and the actual time of the new year is never the same time, however it is usually on the 21st of march(1st day of Spring) if you happen to be in the geographic vecinity of Iran, but it could be at 3pm or say at 5am. The Irony is apart from the children almost all adults stay up to whatever time necessary to hear the infamous canon fired to mark the arrival of the barnd new year and to kiss and congratulate one another.
To celebrate noruz a table is setup for the “Haft-Sin” or translated the “7 S’s”, a table decorated with seven Items starting with S- S for “Salamati” which means good health. Below are photos of a typical haft-sin. The table must also have coloured Eggs, a Goldfish in a Bowl, a mirror and on the newyears day continuously burning candles.
It is said that on the noruz day everybody must wear at least one brand new garment, and at the time of new year it is bad omen to be doing anything apart from waiting for the new year. Superstitions say you will be doing whatever you were busy doing at the gong of the noruz, for the whole year round. for example if you were crying you shall be crying for the rest of the year,,,,, kinda puts ideas on your head doesnt it? like lets be making money at Noruz gong or like having sex!!!!!
In noruz there are no presents involved, just everyone has to give a crisp new bank notes to any member of the family or relatives who is younger than themselves, so kids go onto a money collecting mode as it also customery to visit all relatives during the 13 days holidays following noruz, so Uncles, Aunties and Grand Parents must have good supply of fresh crispy bank notes stashed away for kids and teenagers.
Sizdeh Bedar in the arms of nature like it should be
And finally,This is our Haftsin this year (2013) at home, funnily enough decorated by my Mrs whos German