No Rouz, or Persian New Year, is the major holiday of the Iranian people. Beginning on the first day of Spring, Iranians throw out the old year and begin the new with an ancient holiday full of rich traditions.
When the month of March comes, it is time to prepare for No Rouz. The New Year is always on the first day of Spring. The first thing Iranians do is to grow some green sprouts. They are called “sabzeh.” The sabzeh are believed to absorb any bad luck or problems residing in the home from the prior year.
They do spring housecleaning and buy new clothes and shoes. Every household will have a table of seven S things, or "Sofreyeh Haft Seen". These things represent good fortune for the coming year: health, posterity, happiness, well-being, and prosperity.
The last Tuesday night of the year is called “Shab Cha-har Shan-beh Suri,” or the Eve of Red Wednesday. On that night, a fire is lit. Each person in the family jumps over it and says to the fire: “I give to you my sickly yellowness, I take from you your vibrant redness.” In Farsi it is: "Zardee-yeh man az toe; sorkhee-yeh toe az man."
The New Year starts at the moment of the Spring equinox, when the sun passes over the equator. It is often on March 21st, but can be a day or two before or after the 21st. The moment of the Vernal Equinox can be at any time of the day, and changes every year.
The family gathers together for the moment of the equinox, or "Saleh Tahveel". At the new year everyone hugs each other and says, “Aid-eh Sho-mah Mo-bar-ak!” to wish them a Happy New Year.
People give gift money called “Ay Dee.”
Iranians have a big new year's dinner. It will usually include fish, rice, fresh greens, yogurt, and a noodle soup.
After the start of No Rooz, everyone spends time visiting relatives and friends. In Iran this lasts for twelve days. Everyone is in a cheerful, holiday mood. It is a time to chat and laugh and enjoy being together. Pastries, nuts, and fruit will be on the tables for family and guests to enjoy.
The thirteenth day of the year is called Seez-deh Beh-dar, which means “throw out the thirteenth.” Everyone goes out to a park or the countryside for a picnic and to enjoy the day.
At the end of the day families throw their sabzeh into the fields or streams. Thus the home is cleansed from any bad luck or problems from the preceding year.
After Seezdeh Behdar, Iranians will resume school and work. The Earth's rebirth is evident in the springtime warmth and returning greenery. The New Year is commenced with a clean house, new clothes, strengthened family ties, and with the joy of renewal.
Warmly wishing you a joyous new year: Aid-eh Sho-mah Mo-bar-ak!
Share the beauty and depth of Persian New Year with your family, neighbors and friends with Kudakon's new richly illustrated book No Rouz: Our Persian New Year by E.S. Zameen.
Persian New Year, or No Rouz,
will be on Saturday & Sunday March 19 & 20th, 2016 at:
Sunday March 20 - 4:30 am Universal Time
(formerly Greenwitch Mean Time)
In the United States:
March 19 - 9:30 pm Pacific Daylight Time
March 19 - 10:30 pm Mountain Daylight Time
March 19 - 11:30 pm Central Daylight Time
March 20 - 12:30 am Eastern Daylight Time
In Tehran, Iran No Rouz will be at
8:00 am Sunday March 20, Iran Standard Time.
This is the exact moment of the Spring Equinox,
when the sun passes over the equator.