IRNA – The 21 of March in the Gregorian calendar which coincides with the first day of Farvardin in the Iranian calendar is celebrated by over 187 million people in 11 countries across the world as Nowruz as a national holiday.
The countries that have inscribed Nowruz in their national calendar include: Iran, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Albania, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kosovo, Iraqi Kurdistan and Georgia.
Countries where Nowruz is celebrated by the people but not considered as a national holiday include India, Turkey, Egypt, France, the Republic of Tatarstan, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Lebanon, Syria, China, UAE and Sweden.
Nowruz is shared by many customs and practices across countries along the Silk Road.
Nowruz might as well be the most important annual holiday in the Iranian calendar. As such, people begin to prepare for it one month in advance, through ‘housecleaning’, redecorating, and buying new clothes or house appliance. The days leading up to Farvardin are infused with the scent of blossoms, morning drizzles, shops lined up with pots of hyacinths, violets, and matthiola, and streets buzzing with activity late in the morning, and the joyous sound of singing and music coming from a tambourine, played by people dressed in bright red clothes and a felt hat, faces covered in soot. They are called ‘Haji Firuz’, the Persian equivalent of Santa Claus, perhaps, who sing about Nowruz in the most cheerful tones possible as you are waiting for the traffic light to turn light.