Navroz 2018: Haft-Seen, Amu Nowruz and all you need to know about the Persian New Year

Navroz, also known as Nowruz, is the first day of spring or equinox and is celebrated as the Iranian and Persian New Year. ‘Nav’ means new and ‘roz’ means a day. Hence, Navroz means the first day of the Persian year. The day promotes peace, solidarity, love, and reconciliation and is celebrated with food, new clothes and by spending quality time with loved ones. The day is celebrated by cultural region that comes under Iranian influence or any part of the world that has migrations by Persians. The festival usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day. In 2018, Nowroz falls on March 20.

Navroz has been celebrated for over 3,000 years in Central Asia, West Asia, the Black Sea Basin and the Balkans. While in India, the festival is celebrated by the Parsi community by following traditional rituals and rites.The festival has been declared as the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO in 2009.

What is the Haft-Seen?
Also spelled as Haft-Sin, it is an arrangement of seven symbolic items all starting with the letter ‘S’.
The items included in the Haft-Seen are:
Sabzeh: Wheat, barley, or lentil sprouts
Samanu: Sweet pudding made from wheat germ
Senjed: Dried Persian olive
Seer: Garlic
Seeb: Apple
Somaq: Sumac
Serkeh: Vinegar
Sekkeh: Coin

Iranian Santa Claus
You will be surprised to know that much like Christmas, Navroz also welcomes a silver-haired man called as ‘Amu Nowruz’ and ‘Haji Firuz’. These men are dressed in a long cloak of blue canvas, a pair of linen trousers, a sash and carries a walking stick. Like Santa Claus, ‘Amu Nowruz’ and ‘Haji Firuz’ distributes gifts among children.

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