Coders Prepare for Persian New Year Celebrations
Nowruz, or Persian New Year, is celebrated in countries with significant Persian cultural influence, including Iran, Iraq, India, Afghanistan, and much of Central Asia. This year’s festival starts on Monday, March 20th, and lasts for 13 days. Nowruz is celebrated by people of many religions and denominations across the world.
Nowruz (also spelled Norooz, Novruz, Nowruz, Navruz, Nauruz, and Newroz) is celebrated at the Spring Equinox, which takes place on March 20th or 21st. Nowruz is filled with traditions and customs both in the lead-up to the holiday and in the celebration afterward.
Coder Guisou Akhavan says, "Nowruz is a time of joyful togetherness with friends and family, eating delicious foods and sweet treats, all the while observing the emergence of blooming flora and fauna."
Code3 is excited to support our Nowruz-celebrating Coders and highlight this holiday, its history, and traditions.
History of Nowruz
Nowruz comes from the Iranian religion of Zoroastrianism to mark the spring Equinox and was seen as a victory over darkness. Zoroastrianism was deeply rooted in the people’s relationship with the sun, and it was an important holy day.
There are several possible origins of Nowruz in Iranian mythology. The Shahnameh credits the foundation of Nowruz to the mythical Iranian King Jamshid, who saves mankind from a winter destined to kill every living creature. The New Day (Now Ruz) was the first day of the first month of the Iranian calendar.
Nowruz has been celebrated since the beginning of the reform of the Iranian calendar in the 11th century CE to mark the New Year. It was officially recognized as an international holiday by the United Nations in 2010.
Today, Nowruz is a largely secular holiday, though some religions consider it a holy day. Nowruz is a public holiday in thirteen countries and is celebrated in many more.
Preparing for Nowruz
Though traditions vary by region, these are some of the ones you can expect to see in th days leading up to Nowruz.
Many people who celebrate Nowruz participate in a thorough spring cleaning of their homes. The cleaning represents a clean slate and a fresh start. Families may also choose to add new items to their homes and display flowers.
Visiting Family and Friends
The lead-up to Nowruz is a time to visit family and friends you haven’t seen recently due to difficult winter conditions. Often, families host multiple-day Nowruz parties to accommodate visitors who come throughout the period. Typically, young people visit elders first and elders return the visit later.
Festival of Fire
Iranians celebrate a “festival of fire” on the last Wednesday before Nowruz. They view fireworks displays and jump over a fire to symbolize the removal of ill health, and hope to gain warmth, health, or energy.
These traditions vary regionally, but the haft-sin refers to the table created to help "ring in" Nowruz. Before the arrival of Nowruz, the family gathers around the Haft-sin table and awaits the exact moment of the equinox to start the feast.
The Haft-sin table includes 7 items that begin with the Persian letter “sin." In Iran, the haft-seen table consists of these seven items:
Seeb - Apples are for earth and health
Serkeh - Vinegar is for wisdom and patience
Somaq – Sumac is for the sunrise and sunset
Sekke - Gold coins make you rich
Sabzeh - We grow lentil shoots for a good harvest
Seer - Garlic for medicine
Senjed – A funny dried fruit thing for love
In Afghanistan, people also prepare Haft Mēwa for Nauruz, a mixture of seven different dried fruits and nuts, such as raisins, silver better, pistachios, hazelnuts, prunes, walnut, and almonds, served in syrup.
The thirteenth day of the New Year, which usually falls on April 2nd or 3rd, is known as "Nature Day" or "Picnic Day" and is a time for people to get outdoors and enjoy nature. Known as Sizdebedar, families and friends use this day to gather in parks or other green spaces where they have picnics, play games, and enjoy each other's company. Spending the day outside is believed to bring good luck for the coming year.
Nowruz is an important holiday in numerous countries around the world. Happy Nowruz to those who celebrate!
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