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Nauroz: A celebration of new year and spring

WRITTEN BY

Aleena Naqvi
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Nauroz is the oldest of the Iranian traditions. It marks the end of one year and beginning of a new one. The festival of Nauroz is an embodiment of wealth, customs and ancient rights for the Persians. This is the festival which is not confined to a single religious group. It is the festival which shows the continuity of the Persian culture which has endured so many hardships.

Nauroz

Iraqi Kurdish people carry fire torches up a mountain where a giant flag of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region is laid, as they celebrate Newroz Day, a festival marking their spring and new year, in the town of Akra, Iraq March 20, 2016. REUTERS/Ari Jalal

Nauroz

A Kurdish man holds up a torch while he and others celebrate Nowruz in Akre, Iraq. Nowruz, the Farsi-language word for “new year,” is an ancient Persian festival, celebrated on the first day of spring in countries including Afghanistan and Iran. (AP Photo/Seivan M.Salim)

Iraqi Kurdish people carry fire torches up a mountain where a giant flag of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region is laid, as they celebrate Newroz Day, a festival marking their spring and new year, in the town of Akra, Iraq March 20, 2016. REUTERS/Ari Jalal

Iraqi Kurdish people carry fire torches up a mountain where a giant flag of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region is laid, as they celebrate Newroz Day, a festival marking their spring and new year, in the town of Akra, Iraq March 20, 2016. REUTERS/Ari Jalal

Iranian Kurdish Peshmerga members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of (KDP-Iran), perform a traditional dance as they celebrate Noruz, the Persian New Year, in the town of Koya, 100 kms north of Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on March 19, 2016. The Persian New Year is an ancient Zoroastrian tradition celebrated by Iranians and Kurds which coincides with the vernal (spring) equinox and is calculated by the lunar calender. / AFP PHOTO / SAFIN HAMED

Iranian Kurdish Peshmerga members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of (KDP-Iran), perform a traditional dance as they celebrate Noruz, the Persian New Year, in the town of Koya, 100 kms north of Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on March 19, 2016.
The Persian New Year is an ancient Zoroastrian tradition celebrated by Iranians and Kurds which coincides with the vernal (spring) equinox and is calculated by the lunar calender. / AFP PHOTO / SAFIN HAMED

Do you know: The celebrations of Nauroz in Iran lasts for 13 days. (Source: Wikipedia)

This festival is always celebrated on the first day of spring. This is done so that there is harmony between the new day of the year and rebirth of nature; as spring is the season of rebirth. It is a very ancient festival and as far as the record can be traced it has always been a celebration of early spring. It is celebrated when the sun begins to regain its strength and overcomes the coldness of winter season.

Afghan boys play on a merry-go-round during celebrations for the Afghan New Year, known as Newroz in Kabul, Afghanistan March 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

Afghan boys play on a merry-go-round during celebrations for the Afghan New Year, known as Newroz in Kabul, Afghanistan March 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

Afghan childen ride on a swing at a fair set up in a field at The Sakhi Shrine in Kabul on March 20, 2016, for Nowruz festivities as they mark the Afghan New Year.  Nowruz, one of the biggest festivals of the war-scarred nation, marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in the Persian calendar. Nowruz is calculated according to a solar calendar, this coming year marking 1395.  / AFP PHOTO / SHAH MARAI

Afghan childen ride on a swing at a fair set up in a field at The Sakhi Shrine in Kabul on March 20, 2016, for Nowruz festivities as they mark the Afghan New Year.
Nowruz, one of the biggest festivals of the war-scarred nation, marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in the Persian calendar. Nowruz is calculated according to a solar calendar, this coming year marking 1395. / AFP PHOTO / SHAH MARAI

Afghan Shiite men kiss the holy mace for blessings during Nowruz celebrations, at the Kart-e-Sakhi Shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, March 20, 2016. Nowruz, the Farsi-language word for “new year,” is an ancient Persian festival, celebrated on the first day of spring in countries including Afghanistan and Iran. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Nauroz is a combination of two words. The word ‘Nau’ means new and ‘Roz’ mean day, the word literally translated as ‘New Day’. The origin of this festival is hard to find as it is very ancient but an important thing to know about it is that the story of its origin is rooted in the Zoroastrianism. Zoroastrianism is a very old Persian religion. It is older than Christianity and Islam. After so many years, this festival is still a very beloved one in the Persian culture.

Before the Soviet Union collapsed, this festival was officially celebrated only in Iran. As the Central Asian countries gained freedom from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), they also declared Nauroz a national holiday. On 2nd October 2009, it was also officially registered on the UNESCO list of Cultural Heritage and Humanity.

An Iranian Kurdish woman looks on during Noruz, the Persian New Year, during celebrations in the town of Koya, 100 kms north of Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on March 19, 2016. The Persian New Year is an ancient Zoroastrian tradition celebrated by Iranians and Kurds which coincides with the vernal (spring) equinox and is calculated by the lunar calender. / AFP PHOTO / SAFIN HAMED

An Iranian Kurdish woman looks on during Noruz, the Persian New Year, during celebrations in the town of Koya, 100 kms north of Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on March 19, 2016.
The Persian New Year is an ancient Zoroastrian tradition celebrated by Iranians and Kurds which coincides with the vernal (spring) equinox and is calculated by the lunar calender. / AFP PHOTO / SAFIN HAMED

Apart from Iran, Nauroz is a public holiday in Iraq, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Albania, Uzbekistan, Kosovo, and Kyrgyzstan. The Canadian Parliament also passed a bill on March 30th, 2009 to add it to the national calendar of Canada.

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