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Iranian New Year's day (Norouz)

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From the letter to one of my penpals.

... Iranian New Year begins in spring & we celebrate the first 13 days of the season (Usually from 21st of March). Few weeks before this date, Iranians do spring cleanings; they wash & polish everything in their houses, paint the walls, renew old things, germinate seeds (usually wheat, barley & …) in lovely plates or pots & decorate the sprouts with lovely red ribbons. Tulip, Narcissus & Hyacinth flowers also decorate the tables & crystal carafes with a red fish in as well. As the beginning of spring, the whole nature renews, for Iranians the New Year begins & everybody tries to renew his/her life (surroundings, feelings & thoughts). Enmities, hatreds, sorrows & … are forgotten & friendships, relationships become more profound & meaningful by New Year visiting. Our New Year’s Day is called ‘Norooz’ which means ‘New Day or New Life’. According to ancient Iranian philosophy the 2 powers: ‘Good & Evil’ in nature are always fighting together & eventually ‘Good’ defeats ‘Evil’. Not only in Iranian New Year but also in all aspect of life these 2 powers & the defeat of Evil are seen. We are always moving from darkness to light. Very optimistic philosophy, isn’t it? Anyway, at the last Wednesday of the year we have a kind of feast. We set small fire & jump over it singing songs about throwing all badness, sickness, hatreds, enmities & … in the fire & burn the evil things …

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In Norooz almost all Iranian family members putting on new clothes & sit at a special table with 7 kind of things, their names begin with letter ‘S’ in Farsi & some another things: dish of sprouts, fresh garlic, kind of food or malt prepared from wheat sprouts, vinegar, sumac, apple, coin, painted eggs, sweets, nuts & …; each of them has got a special meaning. The  shows this 7-S table (‘Haft-Seen’ in Farsi). By transition to the New Year family members kiss each other & celebrate the New Year. We’ve got 13-day holydays during which we visit our relations & friends or sending New Year cards & giving gifts. On the 13th day we all go on a picnic throwing away the germinated sprouts & clear the New Year’s Day table (haft-seen) & on 14th day, the ordinary life begins …

... Iranian calendar is one of the oldest & most exact calendars of the world, used by Iranians from thousands years ago. It’s a solar type of calendar. Every year an astronomer calculates the exact time of entering the sun to ‘Aries’, the first solar month of the year. For example our last New Year exactly began at 17:00:40 (in our city Tehran) of 20 March 2001. We’ve got six 31-day months in spring & summer, then five 30-day months in autumn  & winter & finally a 29-day month at the end of winter. Today (20 September 2001) we’re at the end days of our 6th month. So, Here the date is: 29 Shahrivar 1380 ...



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