People of Tehran joined street celebrations across the capital, to mark the annual Spring Festival, as they prepare for Nowruz, or the Persian New Year, which will start on Tuesday this year.
March 21, 2022, may not mean much to most people in the world, but it is a very special day for people in Iran and a few other countries. It’s the start of a 13-day-long, 3000-year tradition called Nowruz, and I’m going to tell you what this ancient tradition is all about and why it is so dear to so many Iranian people and other ethnic groups in the world.
There is this interesting superstition about Nowruz, which some people believe either in seriousness or in jest, that you have to be at your best at the time of Sal Tahvil; otherwise, you will be having an unlucky time throughout the year.
There is no question that Nowruz holds a special place in the heart and memory of many Iranian people. And the wonderful thing about the Iranian New Year is that it is not celebrated only in Iran. Many countries along the Silk Road, such as Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, and Turkey, celebrate Nowruz, and the rite is not exclusive to one culture or religion. It has the advantage of being so ancient and having not only survived but actually flourished well into the 21st century, that it is only logical for Nowruz to be so comprehensive, diverse, and all-around a happy, unifying occasion with all its variations and different traditions and customs.
Another interesting, and very common, Nowruz superstition is actually tied to the Chinese zodiac tradition of assigning an animal to each year in a twelve-year cycle. This year, which is 1401 on the Iranian calendar, is the Year of the Tiger.
Outside superstition, Nowruz is actually a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, first inscribed on the list in 2009 through the initiative of Iran and joint cooperation of Azerbaijan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan. The case was later extended in 2016 to include five more countries – Afghanistan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.