Under specter of Coronavirus, Iranians celebrate Nature Day at home

Tasnim – Unlike in previous years, when the parks and green countryside across Iran were packed with picnickers marking the Nature Day, people are celebrating this year’s Sizdah-Bedar at home due to the outbreak of COVID-19 that has infected more than 44,000 people in the country so far.

Every year on the 13th day of spring, which is an official holiday in Iran known as the Nature Day in the calendar, Iranian families go on a picnic at parks or in the countryside in celebration of the ancient festival.

While Iranians have always upheld the time-honored tradition on the thirteenth day of Nowruz by spending the day outdoors, the global coronavirus pandemic has forced people to stay home this year and observe self-isolation protocols in the fight against the viral disease.

‘Sizdah’ means thirteen, and ‘Bedar’ means to get rid of, bearing the meaning of ‘getting rid of thirteen’. Sizdah-bedar also marks the end of Nowruz celebrations, which begin on the first day of spring.

To prevent the spread of coronavirus, authorities have closed all parks and public places in Iran on April 1 and have imposed severe penalties for picnicking.

Iran’s Health Ministry said on Tuesday that the total number of coronavirus cases in the country has exceeded 44,600 and the death toll has reached 2,898.

The Iranian administration has extended social distancing measures until April 8 to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.