By: Rameez Makhdoomi
Nowruz is a festival signaling spring and diversity. For millions of people across the world, Nowruz is no small celebration. Think Christmas, New Year’s and Fourth of July combined — and add to it fire festivities, delicious meats, rice and spices, family gatherings, street dances and loud banging on pots.
But it’s much more than that, too. Nowruz “promotes values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families,” the United Nations says. It’s a time of reconciliation and neighborliness, “contributing to cultural diversity and friendship among peoples and different communities.
Nowruz is the Iranian New Year, also known as the Persian New Year, which begins on the spring equinox, marking the first day of Farvardin, the first month of the Iranian solar calendar. It is celebrated worldwide by various ethno-linguistic groups, and falls on or around March 21 of the Gregorian calendar. Nowruz falls on March 20 in 2021.
There are fascinating things about origins of Nowruz .
Nowruz has Iranian and Zoroastrian origins; however, it has been celebrated by diverse communities for over 3,000 years in Western Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Basin, the Balkans, and South Asia. It is a secular holiday for most celebrants that is enjoyed by people of several different faiths, but remains a holy day for Zoroastrians, Baháʼís, and some Muslim communities.
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. To defeat the killer winter, Jamshid constructed a throne studded with gems. He had demons raise him above the earth into the heavens; there he sat, shining like the Sun. The world’s creatures gathered and scattered jewels around him and proclaimed that this was the New Day (Now Ruz). This was the first day of Farvardin, which is the first month of the Iranian.
Nowruz has rich legacy.
Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Iran and Afghanistan were the only countries that officially observed the ceremonies of Nowruz. When the Caucasian and Central Asian countries gained independence from the Soviets, they also declared Nowruz as a national holiday.
Google created a beautiful doodle for the Nowruz celebration. The Nowruz 2021 Google doodle is all about animated butterflies, flowers and bees, everything relatable to the First Day of Spring.
Nowruz was added to the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010.
To commemorate the UN recognition, Iran unveiled a commemorative postage stamp during the first International Nowruz Celebrations in Tehran on Saturday, March 27, 2010.
Nowruz is also the arrival of spring and New Year in Kurdish culture.
For Kurds Nowruz signified Fire these mountains, and beyond into Iran and central Asia, fire is used to welcome the New Year on the first day of spring. People gather around the Nawroz or Newroz fire to celebrate the triumph of new life as the warmth of spring takes the chill out of winter.
The story of the Kurdish Newroz fire centres on Kawa, a humble blacksmith who overthrew a tyrant to free his people.
Nawroz is definitely a colorful festival.