Thirteen Day Celebration in Persian New Year
Jam was passing through Azerbaijan and landed on Jamshidi citadel. He puts on his golden crown and sits on the throne. When the sun shines on the crown, the world is illuminated and people start to celebrate. They called it New Day and called Jam as Jamshid. And that was the beginning of Nowruz.
Nowruz is an annual celebration of Persians and Iranians at the beginning of each year and at the beginning of spring. This thirteen-day celebration is the most important remnant of antiquity in present-day Persian life. In the article of “Nowruz, The Story of Lovers” we describe one of the stories related to Nowruz and the coming of spring. But in Iranian mythological history, there are other stories about Nowruz, some of which are briefly reviewed here.
Stories of Nowruz
In one of the stories, Nowruz is the day of Jamshid’s great victory over the Divan, symbolizing evils such as cold, darkness, ignorance and violence. In another story, Nowruz is a day that Jamshid was able to see the unseen world at the Cup of Jamshid.
But the biggest one is probably the story of the revenge of Siavash and before Nowruz, people mourn Siavash. Siavash is the son of Kei-Kavus, one of the mythical kings in Iranian mythical history and in the epic book of the Shahnameh. Siavash goes to war with King Afrasiab of Turan, who has invaded Iranian borders. Afrasiab fails and sends large numbers of his family to Siavash as prisoners for peace. Siavash receives an order from his father to kill all the prisoners. Siavash refuses to do and then leaves Iran. He stays in the country of Afrasiab for a while as guest and married with Afrasiab’s daughter but he is eventually killed by the trick of Afrasiab’s brother. Years later, Siavash’s son, Kei-Khosrow, who has become the king of Iran, avenges his father’s blood. Siavash is killed on the first day of Nowruz, and on the sixth day he avenges by his revenge.
Another symbol of Siavash is the passing of the fire, which is again linked to Nowruz and the resurrection of the world every year. Siavash has to go through a very big fire to prove his innocence. His entry into the fire signifies the fall, and his exit is a sign of the resurrection of the world and the beginning of spring.
Nowruz is not limited to thirteen days of celebration, and a series of other steps is needed to reach the first day of spring.
Festive Wednesday or Chaharshanbe Suri
Nowruz celebration begins on Chaharshanbe Suri or Festive Wedneday. ChaharShanbe Suri is a celebration held on the night before the last Wednesday of the year, with the main characteristic of setting fire and jumping over it. The Iranians gather around together this night, jumping from the fire and rejoicing. Jumping from the fire is believed to protect people in the New Year from disease and misery. That same night, young boys and girls throw tents on their heads and go to people’s homes. People also give problem-solving nuts, chocolate and sweets as a gift to them who hit on the back of the dish with a small spoon. In some cities, the Housecleaning or Khane Tekani ceremony begins after Wednesday.
This part can last from one day to several months and this is an attractive subject for making a jokes at the end of each year. The men, along with the women, clean the whole house, every corner and every small and big device to make everything look beautiful and tidy at the start of the New Year.
Haft-Sin is a table that Iranians spread during Nowruz. On this table, there are things that most start with the letter “Sin” in Farsi (س), each of which is a special symbol.
Garlic or Seer is a sign of health and medicine.
The coin or Sekke is a sign of wealth and prosperity.
Sumac or Sumaq is a symbol of the sunrise.
Persian Olive or Senjed is a sign of love.
Apple or Seeb is a symbol of beauty.
Sabzeh or wheat, barley, mung bean or lentil sprouts grown in a dish is a symbol of rebirth and growth.
Samanu or Wheat germ sweet pudding is a sign of power and strength.
Vinegar or Serkeh is a sign of patience.
Hyacinth or Sonbol is a symbol of spring’s arrival.
But these were the things that started with letter “Sin” in Farsi (س), and there were seven used in total. That’s why the name of this table is the Haft-Sin table. But the rest include the mirror or Aeineh as the symbol of self-reflection, goldfish or Mahi Ghemez as the symbol of progress, candle or Shame’ as the symbol of enlightenment, painted eggs or Tokhme Morgh Rangi as a symbol of fertility, and the book including Hafiz Divan, the bible, the Shahnameh, the Avesta or Quran as a symbol of wisdom.
Aryana Podcast – Episode 09
Nowruz is a ceremony to celebrate happiness, energize all good relationships and eliminate bad relationships. In pre-Islamic Iran, the celebrations of Nowruz were repeatedly held by the people and kings. But after Islam, there has been opposition to it for some time. Whenever Muslim clerics took power, Nowruz’s greatness diminished and they tried to prevent Nowruz from becoming a national holiday and a cause for unity, but they were not always successful.
Aryana Travel Agency wishes you a happy and healthy year and we hope to see you in the wonderland of Iran after the corona virus epidemic ends.