It’s March 21 and Google doodle is celebrating Nowruz, the Persian new year. Nowruz also spelt as ‘Noruz’ or ‘Norooz’ in Persian means ‘New day’, is a festival celebrated by Iranians and some other Ethno-linguistic groups across the world. Nowruz marks the first day of the first month in the Iranian calender. This festival has been celebrated for over 3,000 years in Middle-East, Central Asia, Black Sea basin, the Caucasus and the Balkans.
Geographically, it is the vernal equinox, which marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. This equinox occurs mostly between 20-22 March every year.
Nowruz is an important festival for the Iranians and people kick start the countdown leading up to Nowruz, by cleaning their homes, repairing any furniture or fixtures and whitewashing the houses, which overall in Farsi is called ‘khaneh takani’ which means ‘shaking the house’.
The last Wednesday before Nowruz is spend by addressing spiritual cleanliness, jumping over fire and reciting a rhyme, which goes “Give me your beautiful red color; And take back my sickly pallor.” Sharif tells us this is a gesture of purification ahead of the new year.”
As Nowruz draws near, people start preparing the Haft-Seen table, that is comprised of seven items symbolising the time of the year. As per Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, these items represent what people hope to bring in the year: lentil sprouts for rebirth (sabzeh), sweet pudding for abundance and fertility (samanu), vinegar for wisdom and patience (serkeh), garlic for health (seer), dried fruit for love (senjed), apple for beauty (seeb), and sumac berries to allude to the colors of dawn (somaq).
Apart from Iran, Nowruz is celebrated in Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, China, Gerogia, by the Kurds in Syria and Turkey, Pakistan and by the Parsees in India.