Nowruz (New Year)
by Mason Balouchian
Noruz, the Persian New Year, is the most respected festival in Iran. It starts on the first day of spring, 20th or 21st of March and lasts for fifteen days. There are many customs related to Noruz including house-cleaning, haft-seen table (arrangement of seven items that start with the letter “s”) such as seeb (apple), sabzeh (wheat), sekkeh (coin), etc. Other items set at the table are, a mirror, goldfish in a bowl, and painted eggs. They symbolize sky, animals, and fertility respectively. Other practices include making visits and calling family, relatives, friends, and giving gifts to children and acquaintances. Chaharshanbe-Suri (Wednesday or Fire Festival), and Sizdah Bedar (a day out in parks or countryside to pass the bad luck of the thirteenth day of Farvardin) are other rituals related to Noruz.