What are Iranian Festivals?

As a lot of different ethnic groups and religions live in Iran, there are various kinds of both national and religious festivals. Most popular national festivals are Nowruz, Shab-e Yalda, and Chaharshanbe Suri. Day of Ashura and Ramadan are also religious festivals which affect people’s daily lifestyle.

What is Nowruz?

Nowruz is the first day of Farvardin (Iranian first month of spring – March 20th). Nowruz is the name of Iranian New Year which is celebrated worldwide by the Iran Plateau people. Many other people like Afghans and Tajiks celebrate it, too. Nowruz ceremony begins with the March equinox. It is a collection of celebrations and events that start at Chaharshanbe Suri.

Nowruz Rituals

Spring cleaning

Spring cleaning is the practice of thoroughly cleaning a house in the springtime. People clean and wash all the parts of house and the furniture and sometimes throw away old appliances and buy new ones.

Chaharshanbe Suri

Chaharshanbe Suri is an old and common custom in Iran, Azerbaijan, and some parts of Afghanistan. At last Wednesday before Nowruz people make a fire and celebrate that night with firework displays and jumping over the fire. Mixed nuts and berries are also served during the celebration.

Nowruz tabletop (sofreh)

Nowruz tabletop is the other custom during Nowruz time. Haft-Sin is a tabletop arrangement of seven symbolic items traditionally displayed at Nowruz. The haft-seen table includes seven items all starting with the letter Seen (sounds like S) (س) in the Persian alphabet.

  1. Sabze (سبزه): wheat, barely or lentilsprouts growing in a dish – symbolizing rebirth.
  2. Samanu(سمنو): sweet pudding made from wheat germ – symbolizing affluence.
  3. Senjed(سنجد): dried Wild Olive fruit – symbolizing love
  4. Seer(سیر): garlic – symbolizing the medicine and health
  5. Seeb(سیب): apple – symbolizing beauty
  6. Somāq(سماق): sumac fruit – symbolizing (the color of) sunrise
  7. Serkeh(سرکه): vinegar – symbolizing old-age and patience

Visiting family, friends and relatives

People visit each other and have fun during Nowruz or go to the graves of ancestors.

Buying or wearing new and clean clothes

It is important to wear new or clean clothes while visiting each other. As the year changes, people try to change things in their lifestyles, too.


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