Persian New Year; Friendship with Nature
Nasrin Pourhamrang

The New Persian Year, which is enshrined in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, starts on "Farvardin" 1st or the 21st day of March.
The first days of New Iranian/Persian year which are followed by widespread celebrations all over the country, are called "Nowrouz" or "New Day".

The ancient celebration of Nowrouz dates back to at least 8 thousands years in Iran. The vernacular residents of Iran, this sophisticated and glorious country, have used to mount colorful and fascinating celebrations to mark Nowrouz since 80 centuries ago, in which the friendship of nature, the values of Mother Earth and affinity with the humankind is marvelously significant.

Ancient Iranians had divided a single year into 12 sections and would hold a specific celebration for each month; Farvardin-gaan, Ordibehesht-gaan, Khordad-gaan, Tir-gaan, Mordaad-gaan, Shahrivar-gaan, Mehr-gaan, Abaan-gaan, Azar-gaan, Dey-gaan, Bahman-gaan and Esfand-gaan. Moreover, there were several other celebrations based on the transition of seasons, transformation of earth and climate, natural phenomena and cultural traditions.

Ancient Iranians have long honored the customs of Mother Earth and natural transformations, adapting themselves to climate changes in various seasons of a year to preserve their human life besides keeping a friendly and respectful cooperation with nature; it would also help them to form a salient and fortified civilization which could outlast for a historical period of time.

Not only ancient Iranians had learnt to consume the gifts and blessings of benevolent nature delicately, but also had they discovered to protect their own lives in the face of nature's insurgence and irritation.
Natural phenomena, however, always shaped a major part of Iranians' ancient celebrations and festivities. Iranians had considered these elements as the celestial endowments so they would try their best to preserve them in different ways.

"Mehregan" was the fest of creation. Ancient Iranians would inaugurate this celebration at the beginning and the end of autumn. Having the cultivation of agricultural crops finished, they would mount this thanksgiving fest, hoping for a more prolific year in the future.
With the conclusion of winter and the commencement of spring, Nowrouz would begin; the fest of nature's regeneration.

The frosted and lifeless nature would again start to blossom, and the earth would again green. Iranians believed that nature and its beauties should be enjoyed of, while being respected and protected; once the nature smiles at you greenly, you should smile and set off cheering.
Zoroaster, the ancient Iranian Prophet, was also the one who always stressed on living a happy life and avoiding polluting the nature and embroiling in conflicts, wars and battles.

Iranians have long used to purify and clean their homes and appliances at the moment of Nowrouz' arrival, wash and bath, sew the seeds of edible plants and nurture them, cook and bake the best foods and confectionaries, set fires on the roofs alight etc.

At the first day of Nowrouz, they would go for family gatherings, bring gifts and presents for each other, congregate and eat the most delicious foods, junkets and desserts, dance and make merry, sing and triumph.

At the ancient ages, they would also convey gifts to the kings and receive endowments instead. These celebrations would last for 12 days and on the 13th day, they should leave the homes, set off to plains and hills, settle tablecloths and gather in the nature to conclude their gala of the 13th day in the heart of nature.

Nowrouz and its celebrations, however, are not limited to the land of Iran and are rampant in adjacent countries such as Central and Southeastern Asian countries.

On the final days of the winter, Iranians would dust and sweep up their homes entirely, clean everywhere, buy new cloths and home appliances, purchase gifts for the family members, obtain comestibles and various kinds of groceries and sweetmeat to cook the best foods in the New Year. They also prevalently buy dried nuts and spring fruits to prepare the best for their guests and families.

At the final moments of winter, which is spanned to the spring by the moment of equinox, they huddle around a blessed tablecloth, named "Haft-seen". This ancient table is settled based on precise customs and ways. After the announcement of equinox moment which marks the official beginning of spring and is usually marked by the firing of New Year's cannon, they congratulate to each other, eat from the content of Haft-seen table, give gifts to each other, take a visit of families and friends and continue celebrating by the end of 12th day.

With their Nowrouz, Iranians renew links with nature and felicitate the regeneration of nature. They applaud the revival of flowers and plants with praise and strengthen their family and friendship ties hereby. Nowrouz is the opportunity of reconciliation with nature, family and friend, and that's why it's considered to be the symbol of companionship and comradeship with the nature and humankind.