Nowruz indicates the first day of the new year in Iran and some of neighboring countries. According to Dehkhoda: “the first day of Farvardin when the sun reaches the Borj-e Haml; the beginning of spring which means the new day. It is stated that God created the Man in this day and all seven stars were ordered to revolve.
Nowruz Festivity, Nowruz Eid, Farvardin festivity or Spring Festivity is the greatest ceremony in Iran in which the first day of Farvardin month and the solar year begin. The exact date of Nowruz festivity is not clear to us; however, it dates back to several millennia BC based on the historical evidence. The Iranian great poets have referred to the name of Nowruz several times: “be all your years winsome/ be all your days Nowruz”, Ferdowsi said.
“The Nowruz breeze is pleasant on the face of flower/ the eyeful beloved is delightful for the view of garden”, Khayyam. These poems all indicate the importance of this ancient ceremony. The date of Nowruz was not clearly determined in the past and what is now called Nowruz is deeply indebted to the efforts of the Seljuk Jalal al-Din Malekshah who gathered some of the Iranian astronomers, such as Hakim Omar Khayyam, to collect the Iranian calendar; the place of Nowruz proved to be on the first day of Farvardin based on their precise calculations.
They developed the famous Jalali Caledar based on which each year has typically 365 days, however, every four years a leap year occurs with an extra day, 366 days. This calendar was ratified in 392 HJ. The main symbol of Nowruz is “Sofre-ye Haft Sin” which has been recognized as the most popular ritual in different regions of Iran and as a common ceremony of all tribes who celebrate Nowruz. Seven items all starting with the letter “S”- “Seen” OR س in Farsi which is the fifteenth letter in Persian alphabet- are put on the Sofre, i.e., the Iranian traditional fabric or plastic piece which is used for serving the food, instead of table.
Sumac (a powder spice), Seer (Garlic), Samanu (a kind of sweet paste), Sekkeh (coin), Serke (vinegar), Sabzeh (grass) and Sib (apple) are seven items on Sofre-ye Haft Sin which symbolize the love, kindness, life, blessing, health and livelihood. Muslims include, also, their Holly Quran on the table in addition to the mirror, red fish, candle, colored eggs and hyacinth. The book of Diven-e Hafez and Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh have also a special place in their rituals.
Gathering around the Sofreh, family members celebrate the beginning of Nowruz. The special meal of Nowruz is Sabzi-Polo and Fish. This festivity of Nowruz was inscribed on the list of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009.