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Tuesday, 07 January 2014 08:00

Norouz (New Year)

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The word "Nowruz" means "new day,"

The Persian Nowruz begins on the first day of spring (usually the 21st of March). 

People prepare for Nowruz from early March with the sprouting of lentil, wheat, or barley seeds. 

 

People also do a thorough house cleaning because the Zoroastrians believe that cleanliness is a means of keeping Evil away from the kingdom of Good.  The house cleaning also signals that people are ready to receive the spirits of their ancestors and entertain them. 

The  next step is Nowruz shopping, where every member of the family receives a complete set of new clothes. 

Haji Firuz is the traditional herald of the Nowruz.  He is a black-faced character dressed in bright red clothes and a felt hat.  He plays a tambourine and sings, "haji firuze, sali ye ruze." (It is Haji Firuz time. It happens one day a year!).  People of all ages gather around him and his troupe of musicians and watch them play their instruments and dance. Those who are impressed with the troupe's performance shower it with coins and paper money.

The actual Nowruz ceremonies begin on the eve of the last Wednesday of the out-going year. Early in the evening of that day, referred to as "Red Wednesday," several rather large bonfires are made.  Every member of the family jumps over the fire and says, "sorkhi-e to az man, zardi-e man az to," which literally means "Give me your redness and take away my wintry sallow complexion).  

People then have a party for the children of the family and stories are told.  The ashes of the bonfires are gathered and taken out of the house and buried in the fields. The dinner for the Thursday before Nowruz must include pilau and chicken.

A few days before the arrival of Nowruz, a rather large table cloth is spread on the floor of the main room of the house.  Lighted candles, the family's holy book, seven edible things beginning with the letter S, a mirror with a hard-boiled egg, a bowl of clear water and a live goldfish in a bowl of water are placed on the table cloth with the sprouts of the seeds that were planted earlier. Just before the change of the year, all members of the family, in their new clothes and holding a new coin in their hand for good luck, gather around the display on the table cloth.  They watch the solitary white egg on the mirror. Each one imagines a huge bullfish in the ocean of time carrying the world on one of its horns. Any moment now, the bullfish will toss the world over to the other horn, resulting in a tremor that will dislodge the egg and send it rolling to the side of the mirror. As soon as the egg rolls, the members of the family rejoice and exchange Nowruz greetings. 

It is believed that the first thing a person should eat in the New Year should be an egg, because eggs ensure good fortune.  The Nowruz ceremonies end on the thirteenth day of the first month of the new year.

Read 1128 times Last modified on Friday, 14 February 2014 20:15
Elsabe Smit

Elsabe Smit is a well-known author, clairvoyant, and public speaker.

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