Nowruz, as the Iranian New Year is called in Persian, means “new day” and falls on the first day of the spring equinox every year. It is an ancient ritual dating back 2500 years and is rooted in Zoroastrianism. The Chinese Lunar New Year is also known as Spring Festival, as the season signifies a new start from the depths of winter, carrying the same meaning as in Iranian culture.
This is the Year of the Monkey in Chinese zodiac. Hence, the city of Hamedan included it in its urban decoration for Nowruz, placing monkeys along the different haft-seen elements.
Haft-Seen is the traditional table setting of Nowruz in Iran. It includes seven items starting with the letter S (called seen in Persian alphabet): sabzeh (greenery: wheat, barley or lentil sprouts grown in a dish), samanu (a sweet pudding made from germinated wheat), senjed (the dried fruit of the oleaster tree), sir (garlic), sib (apples), somagh (sumac berries) and serkeh (vinegar).
Other symbolic items which are usually set along the Haft Seen are candles, a mirror, decorated coins (sekkeh in Persian), spring flowers like hyacinth (sonbol in Persian) or tulips, decorated eggs, a bowl of water with goldfish, a holy book and/or a poetry book, rose water and pomegranates.
Related articles: The other Iran | Customs & Traditions
Sources: IRNA, Nafee.ir, Wikipedia | Nowruz