Nowruz is the Iranian or Persian New Year. It marks the first day of spring and is celebrated on the day of the March equinox, when the sun crosses the equator from south to north. The spelling and pronunciation of Nowruz varies by country – other spellings include Novruz, Navruz, Nooruz, Nevrus and Nauryz.
Over 300 million people all over the world celebrate Nowruz, celebrating the first day of spring and the renewal of nature. The word Nowruz is a combination of Persian words نو (now) – meaning new – and روز (ruz) – meaning day. It has been celebrated for over 3,000 years and it promotes values of peace and solidarity, as well as the affirmation of life in harmony with nature.
Nowruz is celebrated by visiting family and friends, preparing food and gathering around the Haft-sin table to await the exact moment of the March equinox, a practice which is believed to have been popularised over the past 100 years. The table is set with 7 different elements, all beginning with the letter “س”. Each element has a special symbolism – Serkeh (vinegar) symbolises patience and immortality, Sumac symbolises love and compassion, Seeb (apple) represents health and fertility, Senjed (silverberry) simulates love and affection, Sabzeh (sprouts) symbolises rebirth, Sir (garlic) is a symbol of protection and Samanu (a traditional pudding) represents affluence. Other objects on the table may include a mirror, candles, painted eggs, coins and traditional confectioneries.
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