Guest Post: Celebrating Norooz with LCMC Teacher Leila

March 20th, 2019

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students, LCMC’s staff and volunteers represent backgrounds that span the globe. Today we are featuring a guest post from LCMC ESL Classroom teacher Leila Nattagh on the celebration of Norooz (meaning “new day”), the Persian New Year celebrated every year at the Spring Equinox. That means tonight, March 20th, at 5:58PM EDT, many of our Iranian-American neighbors will be greeting Spring with the beautiful traditions Leila describes here. To our Persian friends, neighbors, and fellow LCMC family, Norooz Mobarak!

Norooz, the Persian new year, is a beautiful holiday steeped in centuries of tradition. It is celebrated at the exact time of spring equinox, which is called Saal Tahveel and this year it falls on March 20th at 5:58 P.M. EDT. Spring equinox marks the astronomical first day of spring which means the earth has made one full rotation around the sun.

Iranians have many common traditions for Norooz. The first one is to do spring cleaning before the holiday starts and buy new clothes for their kids to wear to have a fresh start for the upcoming year. After cleaning the house, they buy the needed objects for their Haft-seen table seen here. Haft-seen is a table Persians decorate with seven things that start with the letter S. Each object symbolizes different things such as love, life, health, happiness, hope, etc. This table is very similar to the Christmas tree as families sit around the Haft-seen and celebrate Saal Tahveel.

Another similarity between Norooz and Christmas is Santa Claus; however, Iranians call him Amoo Norooz. He is the announcer of new year and brings joy and happiness to families.

Another tradition for Persian new year is to buy different kinds of cookies to serve your guests who come to visit you during new year. Visiting each other during Norooz is called Eid didani. During Eid didani, families and friends exchange gifts. A very common gift given is lucky money which is called Eidi and is known to bring blessings and luck for the person receiving the money.

After Saal Tahveel families gather together to have a very delicious meal of vegetable rice with fish called Sabzi polo Maahi.

While Persians have many holidays during the year, Norooz is the one holiday which is very important to almost every Iranian all over the world. Everyone is happy and excited to start the new year with a clean house, new clothes, a pretty Haft-seen table, and some delicious cookies. Aside from all these traditions, everyone is mostly excited about a fresh start for the upcoming year as spring starts and Earth is reborn.

Don’t forget to ask your Persian friends for Eidi the next time you see them!

Norooz Mobarak! (Happy Norooz!)

by Leila Nattagh, LCMC ESL Classroom teacher