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Norooz

Norooz or the New Day is a symbol of piety and godliness. The celebration starts on the eve of the last Wednesday also known as �Red Wednesday� of the year to be parted soon and it eventually progresses through the 13th day of the New Year. Norooz is an occasion to make merry the arrival of the departed souls of the family.

The New Day is a specialty of the culture of Iran and it is also an integral part of the Zoroastrian religion. Foods offered on this special day are significant as each item has its own symbolic implication. Apple, garlic, sprouts, vinegar, pudding, fruits of the Lotus tree and sumac berries � all are special with unique significance. The Zoroastrians gaily celebrate the birthday of Zarthushtra on the sixth day of No Ruz. Amazingly, this festival falls on the day of vernal equinox each year.

The Persian point of view

According to a Parsi, the New Day or the New Year is a recurring f�te of the spring equinox. Norooz is a tradition and a part of the cultures of ancient Mesopotamia, the Babylonians, the Akaddians and the Assyrians (people living in southwest and south central Asia), the Persians, the Medes, the Elamites, the Chaldeans and the Sumerians.

Norooz is a widespread religious celebration including territories, which have an extension from the Aral Lake and Indus River to the East, the Caspian Sea to the North, the Black and the Mediterranean Sea to the West and the Persian Gulf to the South. History also relates that the first day of spring was pragmatically followed by the Europeans during the middle ages. On the other hand, during the 18th century, the American pilgrims observed the first day of spring as the common �New Year�.

What do the followers of Norooz do on this special occasion?

They visit relatives and compeers, behave respectfully with the elders, try to give up antagonistic feelings and share cordiality with the enemies, pay visit to the resting place of the departed souls, and donate or contribute for the sake of the poor and the sick. The thirteenth day of the festival, ends on 1st April and on this day people feel great in receiving and offering gifts and presents of all sorts. On 1st April, all people jubilate throughout the day in their respective countries through dance, songs and plays.

Aficionados of the Fasli � a variant of the Zoroastrian Calendar observes No Ruz as the first day of the New Year. The other derivatives of the Zoroastrian calendar celebrate Norooz two times each year. One is celebrated on 21st March as the beginning of the Spring season and it is usually regarded as Jamshedi Norouz. The other is celebrate either in the month of July or August and it is generally referred to as new year�s eve or new year�s day.

The concept of Norooz has lot to do with immortal Zoroastrian themes of good luck (light) and evil. According to an ancient Zoroastrian theme in epic, No Ruz is celebrated as a victory of the good over the evil.

In brief, Nu Roz or Norooz as it is better known as is significantly a celebration of life itself.

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