It’s Nowrouz Today: In Many Muslim Countries, People Are Celebrating the Arrival of Spring

It’s Persian New Year today! Have you heard about Nowrouz? Nowrouz is often referred to as Persian New Year that fall on March 21st and the celebration of the arrival of spring. Nowrouz it can be celebrated as both a cultural and a religious day for Parsis, followers of Zoroastrianism and Muslims. In countries such as Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, this day is marked as a public holiday, but the celebration can be seen across Central Asian and  the Balkan countries, including India, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Afghanistan, and as far west as Turkey and Albania.

Families who celebrate Nowrouz, decorate their table beautifully and place certain objects and delicious food on it. What is placed on the table, is characteristic for the holiday and each object represents something else. Here are seven things that are present on almost every decorated table.

1. Sabzeh

Sabzeh, or wheatgrass, is one of the most common traditions that is prepared for Nowrouz and is present on every table. The wheatgrass symbolizes nature and rebirth and therefore represents life.

2. Serkeh

Photo: Turmeric & Saffron

A second object that is often seen on the table, is Serkeh, or vinegar. This represents age and the patience that comes with it.

3. Seeb

As the arrival of spring is being celebrated, fruits are an important part of the tradition. Seeb, apples, represent health and the importance of being healthy.

4. Seer

Maybe surprisingly, but garlic, too, is seen on the table. Garlic is very healthy for our body and has been used throughout history to combat infections and diseases.

5. Samanu

Who doesn’t love dessert? Samanu is a sweet paste made from germinated wheat. It has a history in the pre-Islamic Persian empire and was associated with power and bravery.

6. Somaq

This spice, called somaq, is made out of a bright red and tastes sour. The spice symbolizes the colours of the sunrise.

7. Senjed

Picture: http://afghandriedfruit.com/product/senjed

Last but not least, people eat dried fruit on Nowrouz. The sweetness of the dried fruit stands for the sweetness of love.

The holiday is listed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of 6 nations: Iran, India, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan. The celebrations are said to start the new year with peace and harmony. The name Nowrouz is a combination of Persian words now (new) and ruz (day).

Written by Adin Lubis

Profile photo of Adin Lubis

Adin is a master student of Journalism & Media in Europe at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She loves travelling, share her thoughts on her Instagram @adinlubiss, and vlogging on YouTube.