Posted by sepoy on March 22, 2006 · 2 mins read

If you walk out of my door, the gusting wind will chill you to your bones. So, allow me some grumblings for wishing a [belated] Happy No-ruz to all my gentle readers. No-ruz, New Day, the vernal equinox, the first day of Spring, has to be the oldest celebration around. Some say it goes far back to the early Babylonian Kings (approximately 2340 B.C.) when in the Marduk temple, all the Gods would assemble and decide the happenings of the coming year. The Zorastrians had two holidays, on the first and the sixth of the first month - known as the Bigger and the Lesser No-ruz or the Special and the Common No-ruz. The two were combined and collated into one holiday [probably when the Zorastrian new year was moved from October to spring?]. Firdausi, in his Shahnameh links this to Jamshed.

It is celebrated in Iran, Turkey, all the Xistans in Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan[esp. the Pakhtun] & Parsis everywhere. Obviously, mullahs outside get mad at this pre-Islamic celebration that competes with the two Eids. Eh. What's new?

So, how do you celebrate it? Of course like any celebration worth, well, celebrating, you trick out in new clothes and pack the table with sweets and meats. But, you also get to stack the Haft Seen table: A table decorated with seven traditional items the names of which in all begin with "ÿ“" or the letter "S". So, seven things whose name starts with 's' - emphasis on green & spring things, of course. Samples: Sabzeh [sprouts], Seb [apples], Sunbal [hyacinth], Serkeh [vinegar], Sekeh [gold]...i am out of ssssesss but here is a list [scroll down].

Happy No-ruz!


Sluggish Slug | March 22, 2006

You forgot to mention that the concoction of seven fruits (or berries) is allowed to stand in conditions that are conducive to some mild fermentation (of course everyone acts surprised that it should turn out to be so). So the Mullahs have every reason to be suspicious. Also, I don't think only the Mullahs dislike Nawroz. It is a Persian celebration so to speak (or at least now it stands that way and language is a major cleft in Afghanistan and has been for the past three hundred years). Any one with an axe to grind on that front is also likely to hate it.

Sluggish Slug | March 22, 2006

By the way, happy "Eid e Nawroz"!

elizabeth | March 22, 2006

Nevruz bayrami kutlu olsun! In Turkey it is particularly connected with Kurdish identity, and in recent years its celebration has become increasingly & interestingly politicized. I have found (part of) your book; details to follow.

Global Voices Online Blog Archive Pakistan: Blog-o-warming | March 25, 2006

[...] Chapati Mystery highlights the festival of Noruz; Suspect Paki presents his angered rant on Democracy; The Fountainhead pens an impeccable article on a very important issue; Teeth Maestro coughs his way through switching hosting sites; Lightwithin addresses questions on the subject of Pakistani blogging; and finally I imagined what items would be ON SALE if the White House advertised on E-Bay. (Incidentally, this post got a fair number of hits as it got picked up by many alternative news sites – shameless plug) [...]

Land of Lime Ugadi | March 29, 2006

[...] Newspapers were all full of Ugadi related stories today. Deccan Herald was probably the best with three nice features on the festival itself, on the onset of Spring and the celebration of Ugadi in Kannada poetry. Also see Sepoy’s recent posting on new years festivals in the Asian world. I am reminded of ancient Indian spring festivals, which were liminal moments, when for three days men and women could freely choose partners outside of their marital relationship. Apparently, Chanakya was scared of the freedom inherent in the festival and banned vasantotsava, as soon as Chandragupta Maurya came to power. Poets and playwrights, though, continued to write about it. In southern Karnataka, we grew up with ugadi (and unfortunately no vasantotsava for us) and my favorite Kannada novel on rurual southern Karnataka culture, Doddamane (Big House), begins with a description of Ugadi. This afternoon, I picked up the book from Regenstein and read parts of it, after about fifteen years or so. The novelist, H L Nage Gowda, a major Kannada writer and folklorist, was my mother’s uncle and her only book too is on this novel. [...]

malang | April 28, 2006

i knew about No-roz but not about jashn-e-sadeh which is also just like no-roz read about it at: