Everyone knows the meaning of the New Year (in Farsi: Nowruz). Both internally and as a phenomenon that occurs in the galaxies. Like the New Year means that the earth has orbited the sun exactly once.
Iranians have the most accurate calendar in the world with someone like Omar Khayyam, 365 days and 6 hours to be precise, which after four years becomes 366 days.
But physics and astronomy do not tell us why the March equinox, when the old year turns into the new year, is the first day of spring.
We must see through the worldview, mythology, theology, and philosophy of Iranians for that.
Some are dependent on farm fields, land and have agricultural products to determine their livelihood. These people have a more accurate and complete understanding of spring. For this reason, spring has an entirely different definition for this group of people.
Many years ago, Zoroaster gave credit to the land (the earth). And so, the agricultural lifestyle got a special sanctity, as well as its products.
On the other hand, Zoroastrianism is a dualistic religion, meaning it is good and, on the other part, stands evil. The conflict between these two has always determined the fate of all beings. In general, the principles of creation in the Zoroastrianism worldview lies within the constant battle between the two forces of good and evil.
Ahura Mazda is the absolute good, and Ahriman (the devil) is the basis of all evil. What do you think is the relationship between this duality and Nowruz?
Everything that has to do with life, light, and all that is good was considered positive, sacred, and holy. On the contrary, anything dark and harmful to life, such as death, as autumn and winter, when plant life and agricultural products stop and die, was condemned, rejected, and unacceptable.
Iranians have always been waiting for spring in autumn and winter, so it is very natural for them to celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of spring when spring occurs. That is why Nowruz means new life, new day.
If we look at the whole of Zoroastrianism and Persian mythology, there is only one thing that is clear: the constant conflict between the destructive spirit and the holy creative spirit. If spring is the source of all life, time for the earth to be reborn and the trees to be green, winter is death, and it is demonic because it takes the life out and is the enemy of life.
So, in a way, spring and winter were at war with each other. Nowruz is much more than the beginning of the new year. Celebrating life after a long battle means hope, the continuation of life, the final victory of good over evil, and this means that the devil is disgraced and void.
There are many words to describe spring. From ancient texts, we learn that Iranians have an obligation to renew themselves along with spring and Nowruz.
In other words, there must be a battle between good and evil within humans too. With the arrival of Nowruz, this battle should also lead to their renewal. That is the philosophy of Nowruz.
Many stories were told for Nowruz, for example, that Jamshid, who was the first king and the first example of the Early Modern human, overcame evil on this day, and his coronation was just on the first day of spring.
From ancient times, Iranians formed a beautiful ritual which later became known as the Nowruz ritual. Nowruz is a global feast among all Persian speakers (and some non-Persians) in the world. Despite opposition and sabotages, this celebration will be registered in the name of Iran.
Nowruz has different rituals in different cities of Iran, and among its ethnic groups, they celebrate it in different ways. But what is often common in all these ceremonies is the table, which is referred to as the “Haft-Sin” (Seven-Sins, Sin is the letter “S” in Farsi).
Haft-sin is seven edible seeds, which start with the letter “S” in Farsi. Seven seeds that will grow green if planted in the ground and will bring blessings to Iranians throughout the year and health, love, hope, empathy, and participation: Haft-sin are Senjed (Russian Olive), Sib (apple), Samanu (a sweet paste made entirely from germinated wheat), Sir (Garlic), Sabzeh (raw and green wheat), Sumac, and Serkeh (vinegar).
This table not only shows the importance of spring and agricultural products in Nowruz, but these symbolic seeds also peruse Iranians to realize some issues such as friendship and unity between each other, peace, and reconciliation. Nowruz is a messenger of peace for the whole world. A messenger of joy that nothing in the world is for granted, so as long as we are alive and have time, we should appreciate being with each other.
Another tradition that confirms the message of peace of Nowruz is a meeting called “Eid-Didani” (Eid is Nowruz and “Didani” means visiting). It is when the younger members of the family visit the elders like their parents or grandparents.
People bake sweets for Nowruz. This baking ceremony is one of the traditions of the last moments of winter. When everyone knows that spring will come. Then they will gather together to create happiness and bake homemade sweets.
In Iranian literature, many poems with the theme of Nowruz have been written that invites everyone to be refreshed.
Nowruz is a 12-day holiday in Iran. These 12 days are completely symbolic because according to Zoroastrian philosophers or Zoroastrian worldviews, the whole life of the world and creation is twelve thousand years. These 12 days of Nowruz represent the twelve thousand years.
Because at the end of these 12,000 years, the apocalypse will happen and everything will be a total mess. Just so that this complexity in the new year will not bring bad luck to them, on the 13th of Farvardin (April 2nd), Iranian tend to go out of their homes and into nature.
Another symbol of Nowruz is to have a person play the role of “Mir-e-Nowruz”. Mir Nowruz is a person dressed in red with a black face, speaking funny, and sings folk songs with comedic gestures. Later on, this tradition turned into a comedic play called “Siyah-Bazi” or a Ruhowzi play.
Mir-e-Nowruzi’s part and duty were to sit on the throne instead of the king with full courage so that the turmoil that occurs on the thirteenth day does not grieve the King (or Queen) of the country and Iran would not be left alone with no a helmsman.
The most obvious manifestation of the importance of Nowruz in Persepolis is beautifully engraved in stones. The elders talk to each other peacefully and know that there is a celebration coming up that makes them realize the importance of this reconciliation.