New Delhi: March 20, 2021, marks the Iranian and Parsi festival of Nowruz which marks the start of the New Year. The festival highlights the start of the spring season which ends on June 21 with people observing rituals such as Chaharshanbe Suri and several other activities. The day will mark the start of the first month of Farvardin of the Solar Hijri calendar. In Iran and the Parsi community, the day is celebrated with pomp as people buy new clothes and goods, visit near and dear ones.
The tradition of celebrating the festival dates back to the 11th century AD when a story was told about King Jamshid, the fourth king of a mythological dynasty named the Pishdadian dynasty. Jamshid was considered to be the greatest king of the dynasty and he decided that to mark the beginning of spring, a celebration would be observed among people across his kingdom thus starting the tradition of Nowruz.
- Chaharshanbe Suri: Just a day before Nowruz people celebrate the festival of Chaharshanbe Suri in which several customs are observed such as bonfire jumping in which people jump over a bonfire while saying Sorkhi-ye to az man; Zardi-ye man az to which roughly translates to ‘Give me your beautiful red colour And take back my sickly pallor. Other rituals include qāšoq-Zani (spoon banging), kūza-šekanī (Smashing the pot), fal (fortune telling) from a fāl-e bolūnī (jug), Esfand (burning rue seeds) to avoid evil in life, and šāl-andāzī in which a guy presents gift to the family of the girl that he likes.
After celebrating Chaharshanbe Suri people start the next day by setting up the Haft Sin table on which seven items are placed all starting with the letter S. These items are:
- Seer (garlic): Symbol of Health.
- Somagh (sumac): A dioecious shrub that represents sunrise.
- Sabzeh (Grass): Represents healing and rebirthing of REarth
- Serkeh (Vinegar): Represents patience
- Senjed (Olive): Represents Love
- Samanu (Pastry paste): Represents the power of forgiveness.
Other items on the haft sin table are an Aeeneh ( mirror) , Sham (candle), Mahi ( goldfish), egg and Sharab (wine).