By Darya Ghorbannia
On 20th March every year the Nowruz Festival is celebrated amongst lots of people - from the Iranians to the Turks! A total of 12 countries celebrates this new year awakening, and it is a very big part of lots of Middle Eastern cultures. So, why isn’t this festival more well known in Western countries?
Traditional families get together and decorate a table with lots of different foods and objects for Haftsin! The different decorations represent positive things for the new year! The different decorations consist of: Sekkeh (putting coins in water) which symbolises wealth and prosperity; Goldfish, which symbolise life and the flow of time; and mirrors to symbolise the sky and self-reflection. These are just three of the seven must-haves, but most families add their own extra twists to the table for what they want to happen for the next year!
Chararshanbe Suri takes place on the last Tuesday of the year, before Nowruz. People in the streets light bonfires and jump over them as a symbolic way of purifying themselves and their surroundings. The Iranian streets look lively and colourful with the smell of burnt wood in the air. Family and friends socialise by the wood eating food creating a lovely community feel! Although this is risky tradition, it is part of the culture and the Iranian people don’t want to forget about it!
Just to give the people comfort that find this scary, babies jump over the fire too!
Amoo Nowruz - his name means uncle of Nowruz (the festival). He brings candy and gifts for the kids who were good that year. Sounds a lot like someone I’ve heard about… Amoo Nowruz beats Santa Claus by 3000 years!!!
When I say celebrations – I mean extravagance! The Persians love an elaborate party! Dancing, singing and eating goes on all day through to all night for 13 days – including the kids (no exaggeration). WARNING – It’s big culture shock!!!
For the coming 13 days, the people are full of happiness, colour and have lots of social time with friends and family; every day is a party! Until the 14th day when they release sprouted green plants to nature called Sizdah be-dar! While doing this they make a wish – normally it would be a wonderful, cheerful desire!
This culture is so fun and uplifting. My challenge is instead of immersing yourself in the same different cultures around the world that are commonly celebrated amongst westerners, step out of your comfort zone and explore the other beautiful cultures and their nature!
Open up your mind to new experiences. Educate yourself and live a bit in someone’s life. Exploring a culture is like sharing a bit of you to that community and filling the heart that makes you, you experience all the fun! And the only way of learning this kind of fun, is by sharing love!