Celebrating "Nowruz", the Persian New Year

Feeling the winter blues? It's time to start dreaming about warmer days and "Nowruz", a special celebration that falls annually on the spring equinox and lasts a month. Also known as the Persian New Year, Nowruz is pronounced "no-roos" and translates literally to "new day". It's a celebration of new beginnings and a time to welcome the future while letting go of the past.

Nowruz is among Halleh's favorite holidays and one that she enjoys spending with her family. In this blog post, we'll tell you a little more about Nowruz and the beautiful traditions associated with it.

Although the holiday has Iranian and Zoroastrian origins, it's actually celebrated by communities in Western Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Basin, the Balkans, and South Asia. It's a secular holiday but does have partial roots in ancient Iranian religions like Mithraism and Zoroastrianism. Today, more than 300 million people of many different faiths enjoy Nowruz.

It's fascinating to think that Nowruz has been celebrated as far back as the reform of the Iranian calendar in 11th century CE! At one point before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Afghanistan and Iran were the only countries that officially observed Nowruz. But after gaining independence, they declared Nowruz a national holiday. In 2010, UNESCO added Nouruz to its List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

In preparation for Nowruz, many people will do a major spring cleaning of their homes and purchase fresh-cut flowers to decorate their interior spaces. Hyacinths and tulips are popular flowers for this occasion.

Nowruz is also an excellent time to buy new clothing and accessories. If you're looking to treat yourself to something for a new season and new year, you should consider emeralds, one of Halleh's favorite gemstones. Shop our emerald treasures here.

Seeing loved ones is another common activity for Nowruz. When visiting from house to house, guests will be offered items like tea, pastries, fresh and dried fruits, mixed nuts, and other snacks. Some people will even host large parties to gather all their friends, family members, and neighbors at once.

Much like Christmas and Hanukkah, Nowruz is the time where the young family members pay their respect to the elders in the family. In return, the elders hand out crisp dollar bills to the younger family members. This symbolizes the welcoming of abundance for the new year.

The first day of Spring and the occasion of Nowruz is the perfect time to reflect on everything you'd like to cultivate for yourself and your loved ones in a new year. It's a hopeful time that encourages us to shed our past and look forward to the future.

Photo Credit: @manonpaardenkooper