Tag Archives: Nowruz

Photos: Nowruz and the Year of the Monkey combined in Hamedan

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

Photos: Sizdah bedar ( Nature day ) in Iran

Sizdah Be-dar, literally “thirteenth in outdoors”, is an Iranian festival, and part of the Nowruz celebration rituals, held annually on the thirteenth day of the first month of the Iranian calendar (Farvardin). It is celebrated by leaving the house to spend the day outdoors, picnicking and enjoying nature. Thus this festival is also known as “Nature Day”.

A ritual performed at the end of the picnic is to throw away the sabzeh (greenery on the haft-sin table) part of the traditional table setting for Nowruz in Iran. Doruq-e Sizdah, the Iranian version of the prank-playing April Fools’ Day is also celebrated on this day.

Sizdah Bedar is customary to Iraq, Armenia, Azerbaijan and some parts of Central Asia. In cities with large populations of Iranians, like Los Angeles, it is common to see families celebrating Sizdah Bedar across the city.

Related article: The other Iran | Sizdah Bedar 2015

Photos: Sizdah Bedar 2016 in Iran – Picnicking outdoors on a sunny, rainy and even a snowy day!

Sources: Wikipedia | Sizdah Be-dar, kish.ir 1, kish.ir 2, IRNA 1, IRNA 2, IRNA 3, IRNA 4ISNA 1, ISNA 2, ISNA 3, ISNA 4, ISNA 5ISCA News, Mehr News Agency (MNA) 1, MNA 2, MNA 3, MNA 4, MNA 5, Fars News Agency, Tehran Picture Agency (TPA) 1, TPA 2, TPA 3, TPA 4, TPA 5, TPA 6, Borna News 1, Borna News 2, Borna News 3, Borna News 4, Borna News 5, Borna News 6, Tasnim News Agency (TNA) 1, TNA 2, TNA 3, TNA 4JameJam Online, Young Journalists Club (YJC) 1, YJC 2, Azad News Agency (ANA) 1, ANA 2

Photos: Painted eggs across Tehran

Hundreds of Nowruz eggs painted by Iranian artists were placed in five of Tehran’s parks (Mellat, Laleh, Abbas Abad, Park Shahr and Bagh-e Ferdows) during Baharestan, an urban art event to welcome spring as part of the Persian New Year celebrations. Charities have organized a workshop at the Iranian Artists’ Forum where visual artists and 120 children have painted Nowruz eggs.

Painted eggs symbolize fertility and are displayed on the Nowruz table, called Haft-Seen together with various other symbolic objects. In ancient times Zoroastrians painted eggs for Nowruz, their New Year celebration, which falls on the Spring equinox. Nowadays this Nowruz tradition is common to Iranians of Islamic, Zoroastrian, and other faiths.

Related article: Urban art event to welcome spring in Tehran

Sources: Borna News, Fars NewsISNA, Tasnim News 1, Tasnim 2, Mashregh NewsWikipedia | Easter egg, Honar Online 1 (Persian), Honar Online 2, Honar Online 3, Honar Online 4, Honar Online 5, IRNA 1IRNA 2, Tehran Picture Agency (TPA) 1, TPA 2, TPA 3zibasazi.ir 1, zibasazi.ir 2, zibasazi.ir 3, zibasazi.ir 4, zibasazi.ir 5, zibasazi.ir 6, zibasazi.ir 7, Azad News AgencyYoung Journalists Club (YJC) 1, YJC 2, ISCA News, Mehr News Agency

Photos: Urban art event to welcome spring in Tehran

Baharestan, a spring urban art event, has started as part of the Persian New Year celebrations. Projects by five hundred artists are being displayed until late April across the Iranian capital.

Sources: Borna News, Fars News, ISNA 1, ISNA 2, IRNAHonar Online (in Persian), Honar Online 2, Honar Online 3, Honar Online 4, Honar Online 5, Honar Online 6, Mehr News Agency, Tehran Picture Agency (TPA) 1, TPA 2, Azad News Agency, Tasnim News 1, Tasnim News 2, zibasazi.ir 1, zibasazi.ir 2zibasazi.ir 3zibasazi.ir 4, zibasazi.ir 5, zibasazi.ir 6zibasazi.ir 7zibasazi.ir 8zibasazi.ir 9, zibasazi.ir 10, zibasazi.ir 11zibasazi.ir 12zibasazi.ir 13zibasazi.ir 14zibasazi.ir 15zibasazi.ir 16zibasazi.ir 17zibasazi.ir 18zibasazi.ir 19zibasazi.ir 20zibasazi.ir 21zibasazi.ir 22, zibasazi.ir 23zibasazi.ir 24zibasazi.ir 25zibasazi.ir 26zibasazi.ir 27zibasazi.ir 28

Chaharshanbe Suri – Ancient Iranian Fire Festival (Photos)

Chaharshanbe Suri is an ancient ceremony dating back to at least 1700 BCE. Iran’s largest dictionary, Dehkhoda, describes it as: “A festival arranged on the last Tuesday evening of the old year, where you light fires and jump over them, to achieve happiness and good health in the New Year.”

The celebration usually starts in the evening and people leap over the flames, singing “zardi-ye man az toh, sorkhi-ye toh az man”, literal translated as “my yellow is yours, your red is mine”, asking the fire to take their pallor, sickness, and problems and in turn give them redness, warmth, and energy.

Traditionally, it is believed that the living were visited by the spirits of their ancestors on the last day of the year. Many people specially children, wrap themselves in shrouds symbolically reenacting the visits. By the light of the bonfire, they run through the streets banging on pots and pans with spoons (“Gashog-Zani”) to beat out the last unlucky Wednesday of the year, while they knock on doors to ask for treats. Sometimes the treat is a mixture of seven dried nuts and fruits (pistachios, roasted chic peas, almond, hazelnuts, figs, apricots, and raisins) and is called “Ajeel-e Chahar Shanbeh Suri”. The practices are very similar to Halloween, which is a Celtic version of similar festivals celebrated throughout the area in ancient times.

Photos: Chaharshanbe Suri in Iran, 2016

Families customarily enjoy snacks during the evening and a supper at night after the end of the festivities. In Ker­man and Shiraz the main dish is usually polow with pasta soup (“ash reshte“); the longer the pasta strands, the better the chances for a long life for each member of the family.

The ancient Iranians celebrated the last 10 days of the year in their annual feast of all souls, Hamaspathmaedaya (Farvardigan). They believed Foruhars (faravahar), the guardian angels for humans and also the spirits of dead would come back for reunion. These spirits were entertained as honored guests in their old homes, and were bidden a formal ritual farewell at the dawn of the New Year. The ten-day festival also coincided with festivals celebrating the creation of fire and humans. Flames were burnt all night to ensure the returning spirits were protected from the forces of Ahriman. This was called Suri festival. Zoroastrians today still follow this tradition.

The celebration was not held on this night before Islam and might be a combination of different rituals to make them last. Wednesday is likely to have been prompted by an Arab superstition where it represents a bad omen day with unpleasant consequences. This is contrary to Zoroastrian cosmology where all days were sacred and named after a major deity. By celebrating in this manner Iranians were able to preserve the ancient tradition. The festival is celebrated on Tuesday night to make sure all bad spirits are chased away and Wednesday will pass uneventfully.

Today, there is no religious significance attached to it any more and is a purely secular festival for all Iranians (Persians, Azerbaijani people, Armenians, Kurdish people, Assyrians, Bahá’í, Jews, Christian and Zoroastrians). The night will end with more fire works and feasts where family and friends meet and enjoy music and dance.

Chaharshanbe Suri in Tehran, Iran – 2016

Fire Festival in Sweden
In Gothenburg, Stockholm and Malmö, Sweden they celebrate Eldfesten, a Swedish version of the Persian Chaharshanbe Soori. This year, 2016, is the 25th anniversary of the festival in the city of Gothenburg, where it has become one of the most popular public cultural celebrations in the city. Thousands of people, including non-Iranians, attend each year to celebrate the arrival of spring with crackling fires, music, fireworks and fragrant Persian dishes.

Photos: Eldfesten 2016 in Sweden

Sources: Iran Chamber Society, Enciclopædia Iranica, Wikipedia | Chaharshanbe Suri, IRNA 1, IRNA 2, IRNA 3, IRNA 4, IRNA 5, ISNA 1, ISNA 2, Mehr News AgencyFacebook | Eldfesten 2016, Göteborgs-Posten, goteborg.com, Huffington Post Canada

Photo gallery: Sizdah Be-dar – The Iranian national picnic day

Sizdah Be-Dar (frequently stylized as “13 Bedar”) means in Persian literally 13th in outdoors. It is a festival in the Iranian culture and part of the Nowruz new year celebration rituals, held on the 13th of Farvardin (the 1st month of the Iranian calendar), during which people spend time picnicking outdoors.

Sizdah Bedar is the day Tir (The Blessed day) of the month Farvardin from ancient Persian (Iranian) calendar, which was the first day of agricultural activity in ancient Persia. Be-dar in Persian means going out. Nowadays, Iranians go out to have fun with their families all the day long.

Sizdeh Bedar is celebrated in Iraq, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Central Asia, and elsewhere. An increasing number of participants are taking part in the holiday. In cities like Los Angeles with large populations of Iranians, a growing number of parks are set up by the city to accommodate the large number of people.

Sources:
Wikipedia | Sizdah Be-dar, Mehr News Agency | Photos 1, Mehr News Agency | Photos 2, IRNA | Photos 1, IRNA | Photos 2, IRNA | Photos 3, IRNA | Photos 4

New Year’s dreams – What do Iranians wish for this year that just started?

The start of a new year is associated with dreams and new things we would like to achieve.

Iranians wrote down what they wish of this New Year and were photographed holding their written wishes and an element of the haft sin. Enjoy the photo gallery!

Click on a photo and see the translation of all the wishes:

Learn more about the Iranian New Year (Nowruz), its traditions and food:
The other Iran | Nowruz

Sources: Mehr News Agency