NOWRUZ FES­TI­VAL(THE New Year)

The Diplomatic Insight - - Iran - *Fizza Ba­tool 19

In­scribed in 2009 on the Rep­re­sen­ta­tive List of the In­tan­gi­ble Cul­tural Her­itage of Hu­man­ity as a cul­tural tra­di­tion ob­served by nu­mer­ous peo­ples, Nowruz is an in­her­ited fes­tiv­ity mark­ing the first day of spring and the re­newal of na­ture. It pro­motes val­ues of peace and sol­i­dar­ity be­tween gen­er­a­tions and within fam­i­lies as well as set­tle­ment and neigh­bor­li­ness, thus con­tribut­ing to cul­tural di­ver­sity and friend­ship among peo­ples and dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties. As the spring's foot­steps start tick­ling the ears, lilies, daf­fodils and nar­cis­suswake up to bloom, the im­pa­tient Per­sians await­ing the spring, set up a col­or­ful cel­e­bra­tion to give it a warm wel­come. Nowruz is the Per­sians' long­est and most cher­ished fes­tiv­ity, on which all Per­sians cel­e­brate the New Year with the na­ture's res­ur­rec­tion from withered win­ter. It is deeply rooted in Zoroas­tri­an­ism and counts as the old­est Ira­nian fes­ti­val. Nowruz an­cient­ness, va­ri­ety, col­or­ful­ness, and rich sym­bol­ism mark it off from its peers in other na­tions and coun­tries. Nowruz is the Cel­e­bra­tion of Life; it is de­ter­mined ac­cord­ing to the spring sea­son and co­in­cides with March 21, or the pre­vi­ous/fol­low­ing day, mark­ing the start of the spring in the north­ern hemi­sphere. Nowruz cel­e­bra­tion in Iran: Es­fand, the last month of the year is the high time for a wel­com­ing prepa­ra­tion. To be­gin with, the house­keep­ers set out to do the spring-clean­ing, “Khaane-tekaani” in Per­sian, which mainly en­tails the wash­ing of the car­pets and the oth­er­must-wash items and fur­ni­ture.

The other prepa­ra­tion is grow­ing “Sabzeh” (wheat, lentil, or bar­ley seeds) in some pot, which is done about 2 or 3weeks be­fore Nowruz but to­day many peo­ple sim­ply buy them. One other prepa­ra­tion to wel­come Nowruz is “Nowruzian Shop­ping”, called “Kharid-e Nowruzi”. It in­cludes pur­chas­ing new clothes, sweets and dry nuts, flower (in par­tic­u­lar hy­acinths and tulips) and the ar­ti­cles of “Haft Sin”. Num­ber 'seven' has got a holy po­si­tion in the Per­sian Cul­ture. We are told of seven lev­els of earth and heav­ens, as men­tioned in Per­sian mythol­ogy, seven con­stel­la­tions which con­trolled the fate of the mor­tals and even seven days in aweek. Seven-s spread, in Per­sian called “Sofr­eye Haft Sin”, is the in­ex­tri­ca­ble com­po­nent of all homes on Nowruz. Sofreh means spread or table­cloth and Haft Sin, means seven Ss. Peo­ple of Iran are used to dec­o­rate their Haft Sin in seven big trays each bear­ing seven kinds of foods. Each item has its own sym­bol­ism, which stems from the ad­vent of the cus­tom. “Sabzeh” (the green sprouts of wheat, bar­ley or lentil) is an im­por­tant dec­o­ra­tor of Haft Sin which sym­bol­izes re­birth of na­ture and rich­ness of earth. Aglit­ter­ing red or yel­low “Seeb” (ap­ple) stands for beauty and good health. “Sa­manu”, kind of a sweet pud­ding or cus­tard, is the next ar­ti­cle sym­bol­iz­ing af­flu­ence. The fol­low­ing item stands for love and is called “Sen­jed”, fruit of the oleaster or lo­tus tree. An­other item is “Seer” (gar­lic) and is the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of medicine on the spread. Then there ex­ists sumac berries, “So­maq”, which epit­o­mizes the color of the sunrise and as the last ar­ti­cle, “Serkeh”(vine­gar) epit­o­mizes pa­tience and age. The ta­ble is beau­ti­fully laid and sym­bol­izes themessage and the Mes­sen­ger, light, re­flec­tion, warmth, life, love, joy, pro­duc­tion, pros­per­ity, and na­ture. It is, in fact, a very elab­o­rate thanks­giv­ing ta­ble for all the good and beau­ti­ful things be­stowed by God. Dif­fer­ent fam­i­lies or eth­nic­i­ties may sub­sti­tute some of the men­tioned seven items with some­thing else but those mostly ac­cepted pieces were as enu­mer­ated. There also some ar­ti­cles whose ini­tial is not “S”, but count with the items of “Sofr­eye Haft-sin” like the holy Qur'an, an up­right mir­ror, burn­ing can­dles, col­ored eggs (sim­i­lar to the Easter eggs), a bowl of water with an orange float­ing in, a bowl of water with a gold fish within, Ira­nian sweet­meats, con­fec­tioner­ies, dif­fer­ent fruits, tra­di­tional Ira­nian pas­tries such as baghlava, “aa­jeel” (dried nuts, berries and raisins) which is an­other im­por­tant com­po­nent of the­w­holenowruz fes­ti­val.

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