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Nowruz - Origins and Celebration in the Persian World

Nowruz - Origins and Celebration in the Persian World






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    Nowruz - Origins and Celebration in the Persian World Nowruz - Origins and Celebration in the Persian World Presentation Transcript

    • Nowruz: Origins and Celebration in the Persian World Professor Farima S.Mostowfi
    • Origins
      • “ Nowruz” means “New Day”
      • It was the beginning of the new year in the Persian calendar
      • The holiday is said to have started 15,000 years ago, beyond the last ice age
      • It marked the transition of seasons from hunting animals to raising animals and a more settled life
      • Adapting to the seasons was very important for these ancient people to survive
    • Ancient Persia
      • Around 550 BC, Cyrus began laying the foundations of the Persian Empire
      • For thousands of years, this land was tribal, dating back to Zoroaster
      • He united tribes from around modern-day Iran and had many military victories as he expanded his power
      • He founded the Achaemenid Empire
    • Map of the Ancient Persian Empire
    • Zoroastrianism
      • The religion of ancient Iran was Zoroastrianism
      • Ancient religion in Iran based on the teachings of Zoroaster, an ancient prophet
      • Falsely called “Fire-worshippers”
      • Good thoughts, good words, good deeds
    • Nowruz in Iran
      • Since ancient times, Iran has celebrated the New Year on the vernal equinox, what we know as the 20 th or 21 st of March
      • There is a record of these celebrations on the walls of Persepolis, the capital of the ancient Persian Empire
    • Persepolis
    • The Lion Eating the Bull, the new year eating the old year, at Persepolis
    • Persepolis
      • At Persepolis, representatives from satrapies and governorships (including Ionian Greeks, Egyptians, Babylonians, and Indians) personally brought Darius the Great gifts and explanations of them
      • This ceremony was in Apadana, a building that served as a treasury
      • Darius the Great would also give gifts
      • There would then be a celebration
    • Bearing gifts for the Shah (the King) for Nowruz
    • Conflict and Tradition
      • As time passed and empires grew and fell, Persia was invaded numerous times by other powers
      • Persia always tried to maintain its customs including its language, its calendar, and the Nowruz celebration
      • Nowruz has survived to today in many countries
    • Calendar
      • The Persian calendar is solar and begins at the vernal equinox
      • Omar Khayyam, an astronomer who was also a famous poet, organized the calendar in 1079 AD and placed the beginning of the year at Nowruz
      • The Persian calendar has the year 0 set at the time when Muhammad went from Mecca to Medina
      • It is now the year 1388 in the Persian calendar
    • Nowruz in Iran
      • Nowruz is the most important holiday in Iran. It is a 14-day holiday
      • Spring cleaning- an ancient tradition marking a rebirth for the new year
      • New clothes are purchased and gifts are exchanged with family
    • Nowruz in Iran- Chaharshanbe Suri
      • The first celebration is Chaharshanbe Suri
      • It is a Zoroastrian holiday on the last Wednesday of the year
      • People jump over fires as an act of purification
      • "My yellowness is yours, your redness is mine“ meaning "My paleness (pain, sickness) for you (the fire), your strength (health) for me"
    • Nowruz in Iran- Chaharshanbe Suri
    • Nowruz in Iran- Haji Firuz
      • The Haji Firuz was a person that would come to city to sing and dance as well as alert people to the time of Nowruz (tahvil- the exact moment)
      • They were entertainers who received donations
      • Typically dressed in a red satin outfit with a painted face as a disguise
      • He symbolizes the rebirth of the Sumerian god of sacrifice who was killed at the end of each year and reborn at the beginning of the New Year
    • Nowruz in Iran- Haji Firuz
    • Nowruz in Iran
      • Haft sin (Seven S’s)
      • Sumac (crushed spice of berries): For the sunrise and the spice of life
      • Senjed (sweet dry fruit of the lotus tree): For love and affection
      • Serkeh (vinegar): For patience and age
      • Seeb (apples): For health and beauty
      • Sir (garlic): For good health
      • Samanu (wheat pudding): For fertility and the sweetness of life
      • Sabzeh (sprouted wheat grass): For rebirth and renewal of nature
    • Nowruz in Iran
    • Nowruz in Iran
    • Nowruz in Iran
    • Nowruz in Iran
      • Sizdah Bedar is a celebration on the 13 th day of the new year meaning (13 to out)
      • It is a day where people go outside and have picnics and socialize
      • The sabzeh (wheat grass) is thrown into the water to exorcise demons of the household
      • Young single women tie the shoots and throw them into the flowing water, wishing to be married within the year
    • Nowruz in other countries
      • Other countries that were formerly part of the ancient Persian Empire also celebrate Nowruz, having maintained this tradition for thousands of years
      • It is the new year in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Tajikistan as well as Kurdistan (including parts of Iran, Iraq and Turkey)
      • It is also widely celebrated in Georgia, India, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, as well as other countries where there is an Iranian diaspora (the U.S., France, Canada, etc.)
    • Nowruz in Afghanistan
      • The Taliban banned Nowruz when they were in power, but it returned in force after they were overthrown in 2001
      • “ Seven Cooked Fruits” (Haft mive) instead of “Seven S’s”
        • Raisin, Senjed (of oleaster tree), pistachio, hazelnut, dried apricot, walnut and almond or plum cooked together
      • Samanak- a sweet dish made of wheat germ
      • Two weeks of celebration
    • Nowruz in Afghanistan
    • Nowruz in Afghanistan “ Buzkashi” (predecessor to polo, an annual new year tournament)
    • Nowruz in Afghanistan “ Buzkashi” (predecessor to polo, an annual new year tournament)
    • Nowruz in Tajikistan
      • Nowruz is a beloved festival that has been celebrated by Tajiks since ancient times
      • Nowruz was outlawed when the Soviets were in control
      • It was reintroduced as a national holiday after Tajik independence in 1991
      • In Tajikistan, Nowruz starts on the first day of spring, like in Iran
    • Nowruz in Tajikistan
      • Local communities usually organize musical and dance performances in their town’s parks or squares
      • Food stands and large bazaars
      • Families visit and attend the events
      • Like in Iran, it is seen as a time of renewal, good will, and good luck.
      • People often buy new clothes and give gifts to others
    • Nowruz in Tajikistan “ Buzkashi”
    • Nowruz in Tajikistan
    • Nowruz in Tajikistan
    • Nowruz in Tajikistan
    • Nowruz in Tajikistan
    • Nowruz in Tajikistan
    • Nowruz in Tajikistan
    • Nowruz in Tajikistan
    • Nowruz (Newruz) in Kurdistan (Iran)
      • There is spring cleaning
      • There is jumping over fires
      • Special foods are prepared
      • Families gather and there is dancing as well as poetry reading
      • Women wear colorful clothes
    • Nowruz in India
      • 2,000 families emigrated to India (named Parsi) after the Arab invasion and the arrival of Islam to Iran
      • They maintain their traditions and are mostly Zoroastrian
      • It is also celebrated on the same day as spring
      • Good wishes and greetings exchanged
    • Nowruz in India
      • Five rituals
        • Afringan (prayers of love or praise)
        • Baj (prayers honoring preexistent souls
        • Yasna, offering and drinking sacred liquor (haoma)
        • Fravartigan or Farokhshi (prayers commemorating the dead)
        • Satum (prayers recited at funeral feasts)
    • Thank you! Nowruz mobarak! Happy New Year (1388)!