Growing wheatgrass is one of the most common traditional
preparations for Nowruz
is the Iranian New Year, also known as the Persian New Year, which
is celebrated worldwide by various ethno-linguistic groups.
Despite its Iranian and Zoroastrian origins, Nowruz has been celebrated
by diverse communities. It has been celebrated for over 3,000 years
in Western Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Basin,
and the Balkans. It is a secular holiday for most celebrants that
is enjoyed by people of several different faiths, but remains a
holy day for Zoroastrians, Bahais, and some Muslim communities.
Nowruz is the day of the vernal equinox, and marks the beginning
of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. It marks the first day of
the first month (Farvardin) of the Iranian calendar. It usually
occurs on March 21 or the previous or following day, depending on
where it is observed. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator
and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year, and
families gather together to observe the rituals.
first day of the Iranian calendar falls on the March equinox, the
first day of spring, around 21 March. In the 11th century CE the
Iranian calendar was reformed in order to fix the beginning of the
calendar year, i.e. Nowruz, at the vernal equinox. Accordingly,
the definition of Nowruz given by the Iranian scientist Tusi was
the following: "the first day of the official New Year [Nowruz]
was always the day on which the sun entered Aries before noon."
Nowruz is the first day of Farvardin, the first month of the Iranian
In the Shahenshahi and Kadmi calendars, which do not account for
leap years, the New Year's Day has drifted ahead by over 200 days.
Followers of those calendars (some Zoroastrians in Pakistan and
India) celebrate the spring equinox as Jamshed-i Nouroz, with New
Year's Day then being celebrated in July–August as Pateti,
the day of penitence".
The word Nowruz is a combination of Persian words now—meaning
"new"—and ruz—meaning "day". Pronunciation
varies among Persian dialects, with Eastern dialects using the pronunciation
(as in Dari and Classical Persian, whereas in Tajik, it is written
as Navröz), western dialects, and Tehranis. A variety of spelling
variations for the word nowruz exist in English-language usage,
including novruz, nowruz, nauruz and newroz.
download Nowruz prayer written in English, Farsi and Gujarati Click
Illumination of the Earth by the Sun on the day of equinox
timing in Iran is based on Solar Hijri algorithmic calendar, which
is based on precise astronomical observations, and moreover use
of sophisticated intercalation system, which makes it more accurate
than its European counterpart, the Gregorian calendar.
Each 2820 year great grand cycle contains 2137 normal years of 365
days and 683 leap years of 366 days, with the average year length
over the great grand cycle of 365.24219852. This average is just
0.00000026 (2.6×10-7) of a day shorter than Newcomb's value
for the mean tropical year of 365.24219878 days, but differs considerably
more from the mean vernal equinox year of 365.242362 days, which
means that the new year, intended to fall on the vernal equinox,
would drift by half a day over the course of a cycle.
Charshanbe Suri. In Iran, it is celebrated on the eve of the last
Wednesday before Nowruz. It is usually celebrated in the evening
by performing rituals such as jumping over bonfires and lighting
off firecrackers and fireworks.
In Azerbaijan, where the preparation for Novruz usually begins a
month earlier, the festival is held every Tuesday during four weeks
before the holiday of Novruz. Each Tuesday, people celebrate the
day of one of the four elements – water, fire, earth and wind.
On the holiday eve, the graves of relatives are visited and tended.
Iranians sing the poetic line "my yellow is yours, your red
is mine" to the fire during the festival, asking the fire to
take away ill-health and problems and replace them with warmth,
health, and energy. Trail mix and berries are also served during
Spoon banging is a tradition observed on the eve of Charshanbe Suri,
similar to the Halloween custom of trick-or-treating. In Iran, people
wearing disguises and go door-to-door banging spoons against plates
or bowls and receive packaged snacks. In Azerbaijan, children slip
around to their neighbors' homes and apartments on the last Tuesday
prior to Novruz, knock at the doors, and leave their caps or little
basket on the thresholds, hiding nearby to wait for candies, pastries
The ritual of jumping over fire has continued in Armenia in the
feast of Trndez, which is a feast of purification in the Armenian
Apostolic Church and the Armenian Catholic Church, celebrated forty
days after Jesus's birth.
Sizdah bedar :
In Iran, the Nowruz holidays last thirteen days. On the thirteenth
day of the New Year, Iranians leave their houses to enjoy nature
and picnic outdoors, as part of the Sizdebedar ceremony. The greenery
grown for the Haft-sin setting is thrown away, particularly into
a running water. It is also customary for young single people, especially
young girls, to tie the leaves of the greenery before discarding
it, expressing a wish to find a partner. Another custom associated
with Sizdah bedar is the playing of jokes and pranks, similar to
April Fools' Day.
History and origin :
Ancient roots :
Bas-relief in Persepolis, depicting a symbol in Zoroastrianism for
There exist various foundation myths for Nowruz in Iranian mythology.
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. Jamshid may symbolise the transition of the Proto-Iranians
from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to animal husbandry and a more
settled life. 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 calendar.
Although it is not clear whether Proto-Indo-Iranians celebrated
a feast as the first day of the calendar, there are indications
that Iranians may have observed the beginning of both autumn and
spring, respectively related to the harvest and the sowing of seeds,
for the celebration of the New Year. Mary Boyce and Frantz Grenet
explain the traditions for seasonal festivals and comment: "It
is possible that the splendor of the Babylonian festivities at this
season led the Iranians to develop their own spring festival into
an established New Year feast, with the name Navasarda "New
Year" (a name which, though first attested through Middle Persian
derivatives, is attributed to the Achaemenian period)." Since
the communal observations of the ancient Iranians appear in general
to have been seasonal ones, and related to agriculture, "it
is probable that they traditionally held festivals in both autumn
and spring, to mark the major turning points of the natural year."
Nowruz is partly rooted in the tradition of Iranian religions, such
as Mithraism and Zoroastrianism. In Mithraism, festivals had a deep
linkage with the Sun's light. The Iranian festivals such as Mehrgan
(autumnal equinox), Tirgan, and the eve of Chelle ye Zemestan (winter
solstice) also had an origin in the Sun god (Surya). Among other
ideas, Zoroastrianism is the first monotheistic religion that emphasizes
broad concepts such as the corresponding work of good and evil in
the world, and the connection of humans to nature. Zoroastrian practices
were dominant for much of the history of ancient Iran. In Zoroastrianism,
the seven most important Zoroastrian festivals are the six Gahambar
festivals and Nowruz, which occurs at the spring equinox. According
to Mary Boyce, "It seems a reasonable surmise that Nowruz,
the holiest of them all, with deep doctrinal significance, was founded
by Zoroaster himself"; although there is no clear date of origin.
Between sunset on the day of the sixth Gahambar and sunrise of Nowruz,
Hamaspathmaedaya (later known, in its extended form, as Frawardinegan;
and today known as Farvardigan) was celebrated. This and the Gahambars
are the only festivals named in the surviving text of the Avesta.
The 10th-century scholar Biruni, in his work Kitab al-Tafhim li
Awa'il Sina'at al-Tanjim, provides a description of the calendars
of various nations. Besides the Iranian calendar, various festivals
of Greeks, Jews, Arabs, Sabians, and other nations are mentioned
in the book. In the section on the Iranian calendar, he mentions
Nowruz, Sadeh, Tirgan, Mehrgan, the six Gahambars, Farvardigan,
Bahmanja, Esfand Armaz and several other festivals. According to
him, "It is the belief of the Iranians that Nowruz marks the
first day when the universe started its motion." The Persian
historian Gardizi, in his work titled Zayn al-Akhbar, under the
section of the Zoroastrians festivals, mentions Nowruz (among other
festivals) and specifically points out that Zoroaster highly emphasized
the celebration of Nowruz and Mehrgan.
bas-relief at the Apadana, Persepolis, depicting Armenians bringing
their famous wine to the king
Although the word Nowruz is not recorded in Achaemenid inscriptions,
there is a detailed account by Xenophon of a Nowruz celebration
taking place in Persepolis and the continuity of this festival in
the Achaemenid tradition. Nowruz was an important day during the
Achaemenid Empire (c. 550–330 BCE). Kings of the different
Achaemenid nations would bring gifts to the King of Kings. The significance
of the ceremony was such that King Cambyses II's appointment as
the king of Babylon was legitimized only after his participation
in the referred annual Achaemenid festival.
It has been suggested that the famous Persepolis complex, or at
least the palace of Apadana and the Hundred Columns Hall, were built
for the specific purpose of celebrating a feast related to Nowruz.
In 539 BCE, the Jews came under Iranian rule, thus exposing both
groups to each other's customs. According to the Encyclopædia
Britannica, the story of Purim as told in the Book of Esther is
adapted from an Iranian novella about the shrewdness of harem queens,
suggesting that Purim may be an adoption of Iranian New Year. A
specific novella is not identified and Encyclopædia Britannica
itself notes that "no Jewish texts of this genre from the Persian
period are extant, so these new elements can be recognized only
inferentially". Purim is celebrated within a few weeks of Nowruz
as the date of Purim is based on a lunar calendar, while Nowruz
occurs at the spring equinox. It is possible that the Jews and Iranians
of the time may have shared or adopted similar customs for these
and Sassanid periods :
Nowruz was the holiday of Arsacid dynastic empires who ruled Iran
(248 BCE–224 CE) and the other areas ruled by the Arsacid
dynasties outside of Parthia (such as the Arsacid dynasties of Armenia
and Iberia). There are specific references to the celebration of
Nowruz during the reign of Vologases I (51–78 CE), but these
include no details. Before Sassanids established their power in
Western Asia around 300 CE, Parthians celebrated Nowruz in autumn,
and the first of Farvardin began at the autumn equinox. During the
reign of the Parthian dynasty, the spring festival was Mehrgan,
a Zoroastrian and Iranian festival celebrated in honor of Mithra.
Extensive records on the celebration of Nowruz appear following
the accession of Ardashir I, the founder of the Sasanian Empire
(224–651 CE). Under the Sassanid emperors, Nowruz was celebrated
as the most important day of the year. Most royal traditions of
Nowruz, such as royal audiences with the public, cash gifts, and
the pardoning of prisoners, were established during the Sassanid
era and persisted unchanged until modern times.
After the Muslim conquest :
along with the mid-winter celebration Sadeh, survived the Muslim
conquest of Persia of 650 CE. Other celebrations such as the Gahambars
and Mehrgan were eventually side-lined or only observed by Zoroastrians.
Nowruz became the main royal holiday during the Abbasid period.
Following the demise of the caliphate and the subsequent re-emergence
of Iranian dynasties such as the Samanids and Buyids, Nowruz became
an even more important event. The Buyids revived the ancient traditions
of Sassanian times and restored many smaller celebrations that had
been eliminated by the caliphate. The Iranian Buyid ruler 'Adud
al-Dawla (r. 949–983) customarily welcomed Nowruz in a majestic
hall, decked with gold and silver plates and vases full of fruit
and colorful flowers. The King would sit on the royal throne, and
the court astronomer would come forward, kiss the ground, and congratulate
him on the arrival of the New Year. The king would then summon musicians
and singers, and invited his friends to gather and enjoy a great
Later Turkic and Mongol invaders did not attempt to abolish Nowruz.
the collapse of the Soviet Union, Iran was the only country 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.
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, 27 March 2010.
Traditional costume for Nawriz in Kazakhstan.
festival of Nowruz is celebrated by many groups of people in the
Black Sea basin, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Western Asia, central
and southern Asia, and by Iranians worldwide.
where Nowruz is a public holiday include :
• Azerbaijan (five days)
• Iran (thirteen days)
• Iraqi Kurdistan
• Kazakhstan (four days)
• Bayan-Ölgii, Mongolia
• Tajikistan (four days)
• Turkmenistan (two days)
Nowruz in Bharat (India) :
Bharat Nowruz is celebrated but in a different way. It is dedicated
to Goddess Durga.
of deities like Ishtar, Astarte, Inana, Lilith, Kadesh, Qudhu and
Hathor are shown riding a lion like the Hindu goddess Durga.) There
is a festival connected with Goddess Durga called Navratri where
for 9 days Navratri is celebrated.
are 4 Navratri in a year :
1. Shardiya Navratri (September-October),
2. Basanti Navratri (March-April),
3. Ashadh Navratri (Jun-July) and,
4. Paush/Magh Navratri (Jan-Feb)
1st and 2nd one is celebrated all over India in different forms
by common Hindu people. While 3rd and 4th one is not celebrated
by common people. Sadhu, Muni, rishi who are follower of Shakta
branch of Hinduism do penance and worship Shakti form of Brahm (supreme
Besides religious importance of Navratri if you notice all navratri
occurs at transition of Season change.
4 season change is correspond to 4 navratri :
1. Shardiya Navratri (start of sharad ritu (mild winter season)
just after monsoon),
2. Basanti Navratri (start of spring just after winter end),
3. Ashadh Navratri (Start of monsoon just after summer) and,
4. Paush/Magh Navratri (start of harsh winter from mild one).
If you notice first two season changes are more prone to disease
and seems to be that’s why more popular and suggested for
Jaya Parvati Vrat :
Parvati Vrat is observed in Ashada Maas by unmarried girls and married
women in Gujarat and some other Western India parts. This vrat is
observed for five days for 5, 7, 9, or maybe even 11 years.
The story or legend of Jaya Parvati vrat is associated with a Brahmin
woman who observed this vrat to get her husband free from his curse
(was not really a curse). The divine couple Lord Shiva and Goddess
Parvati is worshipped during this vrat.
Gujaratis also worship Goddess Gauri in Ashadh Maas as Gauri Vrat.
There is a legend behind the Jaya Parvati Vrat. There was a Brahmin
couple. They were devotees of Lord Shiva. They had everything in
their life but a child. They used to worship Lord Shiva every day
in the temple. Lord Shiva was propitiated with the devotion of the
couple and there was a revelation which said "My Shiva Linga
is at a certain place in the jungle. No body is performing its puja.
If you go there and perform its puja, then your wishes will be fulfilled."
The Brahmin couple was pleased when they heard this. They went to
the jungle and found out the place where Lord Shiva's Shiva Linga
was. The couple found the Linga and the Brahmin went in search for
flowers to perform the puja, where he was bitten by a snake and
fell unconscious. His wife got worried as her husband did not return
and went in search for him. She prayed intensely for her husband's
safety. Lord Shiva saw the true devotion of the Brahmin woman and
brought her husband back to consciousness. Later, the couple prayed
at the Linga and they were blessed with a son.
When observing Jaya Parvati vrat, one cannot eat tomatoes, spices,
salt, and vegetables. It is believed that Jaya Parvati vrat brings
happiness and blesses the girl with a good husband and a happy married
On the first day of the vrat, wheat seeds (javaara) are planted
in a small bowl/pot and kept by the temple in the house. Prayers
are then offered to the javaar pot. A nagla (a necklace made from
cotton wool) is decorated with vermillion (kumkum). This ritual
is carried out every morning and the wheat seeds are watered.
On the last day, the women who have observed the fast have to remain
awake the whole night of the fifth day called as jagran. On the
sixth day the javara are taken out of the pot are immersed in the
holy waters of rivers or ponds after taking a bath and wearing beautiful
dresses; offer prayers at Mataji's temple and break the fast by
eating a full meal consisting of salt, chapaatis made of wheat,
we can see the common similirities in Aryan traditions but because
of the invasions and seperation of lands into different countries
a lot is lost but time has now come to rebuild the lost traditions