Nowruz Festival is a traditional New Year or spring festival celebrated by various peoples around the world. Today, Nowruz celebrated in many geographies and countries around the world:
In addition, starting from 2010, the United Nations General Assembly recognizes March 21 as the “World Nowruz Day“.
Nowruz Festival According to Different Geographies
Nowruz Festival is celebrated in many countries today. In this respect, it also differs according to geographies. For example, Nowruz is the most important holiday in Iran.
In Iran, Nowruz is a special celebration that marks the beginning of the Iranian solar calendar. Nowruz Festival takes place on the first day of Farvardin.
Hacı Firuz, the herald of Nowruz, distributes gifts to children between these dates, similar to Santa Claus in Christianity. In Persian, Nowruz means no (fresh/new) and ruz (day). A new day means new life and new beginnings.
Iranians see this holiday as a new beginning. They are starting their spring cleaning before the new year. They shakes their carpets, washes them and hangs them on the garden walls. There are also meals made for this moment. Sabzi Polo is one of them. Usually served with fish, this Nowruz side dish is made with rice seasoned with various herbs. The Sabzi Polo dish often includes coriander and parsley, although the history varies from region to region.
In addition, Kuku Sabzi is among the dishes of Nowruz Day. This delicious Nowruz vegetarian dish is a kind of vegetable dish prepared with a mixture of eggs and herbs. However, what makes this dish special is that it contains walnuts and blueberries at the same time.
To celebrate Nowruz, people soak plant seeds such as wheat, barley, beans, lentils, chickpeas in water and grow vegetables 25 days ago, which are the symbols of nature’s awakening. The vegetable, which is the symbol of life today, was different in terms of meaning in the past, but at that time it was related to the economy based on agriculture.
In addition to these, there are ceremonies celebrated before Nowruz. Wednesday Suri is one of them. This ceremony is part of the fire ceremonies. Nowruz is celebrated by lighting a fire on the last Tuesday of the year. For Iranians, fire is the symbol of light, light and cleanliness. Most importantly, fire is a symbol of God’s majesty. In the celebrations made by lighting a fire, it is aimed to clean the disease, evil and pollution created by Ahrimen (Satan).
For Turks, Nevruz is a day that marks the re-emergence of the Turks on the stage of history and the beginning of a new year. Another name is “Ergenekon Feast”. It was a customary holiday during the Hun, Gokturk, Uyghur, Seljuk, Ottoman and Turkish Republic periods, and ceremonies and entertainments took place.
In other words, Nowruz festival is celebrated within the framework of the same meaning, except for some regional differences, everywhere in the historical borders of the Great Seljuk State. Nowruz means the great day of the nation from Northern Cyprus to East Turkestan, the herald of the new year and the arrival of spring.
Nowruz Among the Baha’is
Nowruz Festival also seen among Baha’is too. However different then the others, they celebrate the Nowruz Festival not only as a holiday, but also as a religious one. However, it is not only the celebration of the new year according to the Baha’i calendar. Also the celebration of the end of the 19-day fast they kept.
The time between sunset of the day after the end of the 19-day Baha’i fast and the sunset of the next day is the Feast of Fasting. Today is also the Baha’i New Year. With this day, the last month of the calendar, the month of Ala, has ended and the first day of the month of Baha has begun. For that, today is also known that Nowruz festival.
Nowruz in Afghanistan
Nowruz Festival is one of the festivals celebrated in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, Nowruz is traditionally celebrated for two weeks. Preparations begin days in advance and are finished after Chaharshanbe Suriden, the last Wednesday before New Year. On this day, people engage in various customs and traditions. “Haft Mewa” is one of them.
Unlike Haft Sinnin, which is prepared in Iran, they prepare Haft Meway, the Seven Fruits, in Afghanistan. Haft Mewa is like a kind of fruit salad prepared from dried fruits and served in their own syrup. These 7 fruits are,
- Buckwheat Called Senjed,
- Dried Apricots,
- Walnuts And Almonds,
And plums. There is also “Smanak”. This is a kind of sweet made from wheat. Women make this dessert especially at night. Alongside these are the Gul-e Surkh Festival, Buzkashi and many more.
What are Nowruz Traditions?
So what are the Nowruz traditions? The traditions of Nowruz are many and they may differ according to geographies and cultures.
On March 21, people go to the recreation areas in groups to celebrate the arrival of spring. Today, shrines are also visited and wishes are made. Various entertainments are organized in the countryside. Manis are said, intentions are made, the first flowers of spring are gathered. It is a tradition to get up early in the morning, to wash with the first water of Nowruz, and today it is dressed with care.
Eggs dyed with onion skins are cooked and eaten, and wishes of abundance and fertility are made. A fire is lit on a high hill, heralding the arrival of spring.
There is also jumping over fire. Traditionally, the Nowruz Fire is lit in the area where the events are held on the Nowruz Festival, which is celebrated on March 21 every year. Because fire was considered sacred by the ancient Turks throughout history. The ancient Turks did not play with fire, spit on fire or extinguish the fire because they considered fire sacred. The ancient Turks, who thought that fire purified them from evil and protected them from diseases, used to jump over them by lighting fire in Nowruz celebrations.