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Happy Nowruz!

Scholastic Kid Reporter explains Iranian New Year

By Rokhsane Mahmoudi | null null , null

Iranian girl looks at goldfish
An Iranian girl looks at goldfish for sale in preparation for the Iranian New Year. (Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images/NewsCom)
March 23, 2007

The sound of children’s laughter, the sight of the beautiful haft seen, the smell of delicious food cooking in the oven…it can only mean one thing: the Iranian New Year!

The Iranian New Year is always the day before the first day of spring, March 21. Referred to as Nowruz, or New Day, by Iranians, this day is one of the biggest, brightest, and best days of the year for many Persians.

Whatever time of day the New Year begins, you will find most Iranians gathered with friends and family. This year, for example, the year turned 1386 (according to the solar calendar) at exactly 8:07:26 p.m.

At these gatherings, people usually display the traditional haft seen, a mat for presenting items that symbolize certain things in the New Year. These items include apples, which symbolize health and beauty; garlic, which symbolizes medicine; painted eggs; goldfish; a Koran (the holy Islamic book); and many other things.

haft seen
Iranians celebrate Nowruz by displaying the traditional haft seen, a mat for presenting items that symbolize certain things in the New Year. (Photo: UPI Photo/NewsCom)
Other traditions include family and friends giving children money and candy to celebrate. People gather together and read the Koran. Relatives from afar come to visit families. The atmosphere is very cheerful.

Thirteen days into the New Year, on April 2, people practice another tradition: Seezdah Bedar. Seezdah (which means thirteen) Bedar is a day when families go to parks and have picnics to avoid staying inside. If you stay in your house on Seezdah Bedar, you’ll have bad luck for the rest of the year!

President George W. Bush wished everyone a happy Iranian New Year this year. In an official statement from the President on New Year’s Day, he spoke about the rich cultural diversity in the U.S.

“We are blessed to be a nation that welcomes individuals of all races, religions, and cultural backgrounds,” President Bush said. “Celebrating Nowruz honors the values of family and tradition and helps preserve the unique fabric that makes up our country.”

Happy Nowruz!

About the Author

Rokhsane Mahmoudi is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

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