IRNA – Norouz, the traditional Iranian festival of spring is celebrated by millions of people in Iran and a number of other countries across the globe including Pakistan.
It marks the first day of the first month (Farvardin) in the Iranian calendar. It usually falls on March 21 or the previous or following day, depending on where it is observed.
The moment the sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year, and families gather together to observe the rituals.
The UN’s General Assembly recognized the International Day of Norouz in 2010, describing it as a spring festival of Iranian origin, which has been celebrated for over 3,000 years.
It has its origins in ancient Iran and Zoroastrianism, the ancient pre-Islamic religion but Iranians gave it an Islamic color after they converted to Islam.
People in Iran mark the turn of the year by saying a famous prayer, asking God to change their minds and perceptions in the same way He revives the nature.
Haft Sin is an important Norouz ritual on which households decorate a table with seven items that represent the new season which begin with the Persian letter ‘sin’ (s).
Director General of Pakistan’s National Language Promotion Department Iftikhar Hussain Arif talking to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) said Iran is an old civilization and even before Islam the region had traditional ties with Iran and history proves that.
He went on to say that the festival of Norouz has been attributed to Zoroaster but the fact is that even before his birth the festival was observed in Iran.
He added after Islam new things were added into the festival of Norouz noting that it is basically a festival of seasons and all the seven things used in the festival have their own significance.
The scholar said with the arrival of Norouz, a new life comes into Iran and in some areas of Pakistan people do celebrate Norouz.
Arif added that Norouz festival is the amalgamation of different civilizations. “It is indeed a very important festival and in UNESCO heritage department has also registered Norouz as one of oldest festivals in history of mankind.”
Also Muhammad Safeer, Assistant Professor, Department of Persian Language at National University of Modern Languages (NUML) Islamabad talking to IRNA said that arrival of spring season and festival of Norouz are not two different things.
He said that Norouz is being celebrated in Iran for over 5,000 years ago according to traces of history.
He said that Norouz festival is also celebrated in northern part of Pakistan like Iran because Islam came into these areas from religious scholars and preachers of Iran who also brought their customs and traditions with them.
Safeer went on to say that in some other parts of Pakistan Norouz is also celebrated like Iran but in rest of the country it is being celebrated as spring festival in the month of March.
He noted that in Pakistan it is called as ‘Jashn-e-baharan’ or ‘Basant’ and on the occasion different events and festivals are orgaizned in major cities to celebrate the spring season.
Many Pakistani poets like Iqbal Lahori have used Norouz and spring in their poetry too, he added. The professor said that in schools, colleges, universities and in other public places spring festival is observed with joy.