Ancient Nowruz in Iran

The ancient Nowruz, or “New Day”, that also spells “Norouz”, “Norooz”, “Noruz”, etc, is a very old tradition in Iran or Persia. Preparation for the Nowruz begins early in March with sprouting of Sabzeh (lentil, wheat, or barley seeds) and a thorough Khane Tekani (House Cleaning). The former harks back to the agrarian background of the Iranian tribes that celebrated the main transitions in the climate that dictated the dynamics of their lives. The latter, which entails washing carpets, painting the house, and cleaning the yard and the attic, stems from the Zoroastrians’ preoccupation with cleanliness as a measure for keeping Evil away from the kingdom of Good. Symbolically, Khane Tekani signals to the spirits of the ancestors that their kin are ready and willing to entertain them. In other words, they are invited to descend on their previous homes to help them nourish the growth of the Sabzeh, the main source of their sustenance which has been depleted during the long and cold days of winter.

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The sprouting of seeds and house cleaning are followed by Kharid-i Nowruzi (Nowruz Shopping) . Everyone must be measured and outfitted with new clothes, shoes, etc. At the end a trip must be made to the bank for acquiring shiny, new coins and crisp, fresh banknotes to give out as Eydi (Nowruz Gift).

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One of the old and most popular Bazaar in the days before Nowruz is Tajrish Street Market . Last year, Khamenei’s thugs forbade all Street Markets, especially in Tajrish, and Tajrish Sq. was not like the past years. This year again the Mullahs and Khamenei’s dogs/thugs have forbidden Tajrish Street Market. But Tajrish Street Market is an interesting legacy and Mullahs could not abolish it. The people would topple the Islamic regime in 1390, and get back all their Persian legacies.

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At Sal Tahvil , that means the hour during which the old year ends and the new year begins, the family members all dressed in their best, sit around the Nowruz table, Haft Sinn , and eagerly await the announcement of the exact time of vernal equinox over TV. After the time is announced, each member kisses the other and wishes a Happy Nowruz. All family members exchange Nowruz greetings, “Eide Shoma Mubarak!” or “Sale now Mubarak” (like “Mubarak” in Egypt !, that mean “Congratulate” in Persian). Elders give gifts to younger members. Sal Tahvil is a most crucial moment in the life of the family, especially with regard to forgiving past failings, putting away petty frictions that would otherwise fester into conflicts, and looking forward to more constructive relations. Several beliefs related to Sal Tahvil are interesting. The first person who enters the house after Sal Tahvil might decide the good or bad fortune that would visit the house in the next year. Often a member of the family known to be blessed with good fortune is sent out to become the first visitor. (It’s needless to say that many people prefer to not do this very risky job !!! ) Even the place where the individual is at Sal Tahvil is significant in that he or she might be stuck to that or a similar location for the entire duration of the coming year !!!

After Sal Tahvil Did va Bazdid begins, i.e. the rounds of visits to neighbors, relatives, and friends begin. Each visit (Diid) is reciprocated (Bazdid). Typically, the youth will visit the elders first (Didd), and the elders return their visit later (Bazdid). The visits naturally have to be relatively short, otherwise one will not be able to visit everybody on their list. A typical visit is around 30 minutes. Because of the house visits, you make sure you have a sufficient supply of pastry, cookies, fresh and dried fruits and special nuts on hand, as you typically serve your visitors with these items with tea or sherbet. The rounds of visitations might last as long as thirteen days

For further reading:

[1] Iranica Encyclopedia
[2] Zarathusahtrian Assembly
[3] The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies

One Response to Ancient Nowruz in Iran

  1. masht abbas says:

    Happy new year.

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