Nowruz is the Persian New Year, the beginning of the year for nearly 500 million people around the world, according to the United Nations. The first of the year falls on the beginning of spring and the vernal equinox, precisely when the sun crosses the equator, which may occur March 19, 20, 21, or 22.
According to the press release, Nowruz celebrations are symbolic of two ancient concepts: 1) the End and Rebirth, and 2) Good and Evil. New clothes, baking, and the germinating of seeds are done to indicate renewal, while a ceremonial cloth, the sofreh-ye-haft-sinn, is set up in each household. The number 7 has been sacred in Iran since ancient times and seven dishes placed upon the cloth stand for the “seven angelic heralds of life: rebirth, health, happiness, prosperity, joy, patience, and beauty.” There is also a parade at one point with tambourines, kettle drums, and trumpets.
On the evening of the last Wednesday of the year—the eve of Red Wednesday, it’s called—bonfires are lit in public places and people leap over the flames shouting, “Sorkhi-e-to-az-man o zardí man az to,” which means “Give me your beautiful color and take back my sickly pallor.” With the help of fire and light (symbols of good), we hope to see our way through this unlucky night—the End of the Year—to the arrival of Spring’s longer days.
Some traditional foods are Ash-e-reshtech-nazrí (noodle soup), Baslogh (a filled Persian delight), and ajil-moshkel-gosha, which means “unravel-er of difficulties” and is made by mixing seven dried fruits: pistachios, roasted chick peas, almonds, hazelnuts, peaches, apricots, and raisins. Fish and noodles are served on New Year’s Day, as it is believed that they will bring good luck in the coming year.
The New Year celebration continues for 12 days after the equinox. On the 13th day, Sizdeh-bedar (literally meaning “outdoor thirteen”), families carry trays of sprouted seeds in a procession to a park and throw the sprouts into a body of water, completing the process of the end of one year and the birth of another.
The Nowruz festival will be held on March 9th at the First Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena, hosted by Our Parenting Place. They are an “educational program designed to help families and children of the San Gabriel Valley by offering parenting classes, teacher workshops, hands-on learning for children and adults, and cultural events. They were established in San Marino in 2010. It will be their second event of this kind and offers a “‘taste of Iranian culture’ with food, music, art, and the dress of Indo-European people.”
Our Parenting Place invites the public to join them in celebrating their New Year, to learn of their traditions and the culture that they nurture, while at the same time creating their American roots.
2nd Annual Nowruz Bazaar & Cultural Festival
Saturday, March 9th, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free to the public
First Church of the Nazarene of Pasadena
3700 E. Sierra Madre Blvd., Pasadena 91107
For more info, call Gilda at 626.588.2945 or firstname.lastname@example.org