During the spring that a new world revives and new seedlings sprout out of the ground, Iranians celebrate the beginning of earth’s rebirth, Nowruz, which is considered as the oldest as well as the most prominent festivals of Iran. The Persian ritual of welcoming the green season of the year, Nowruz, is celebrated in many countries around the world including, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Turkey. In 13 consecutive days, Iranians celebrate Nowruz by particular customs such as Haft seen table which consists of 7 items that each one evokes different concepts such as growth, birth, fertility, abundance or blessing, eating some special food such as Sabzi Polo with fish or Reshteh polo, visiting relatives, presenting gifts to each other which is normally are given by elders to younger ones and wearing new clothes as a sign of the renewal of the earth. This significant celebration is registered as UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. Sizdah-Be-Dar (nature day): A ritual left from ancient times, Sizdeh-Be-Dar, is the 13th day of Nowruz that is recognized as nature day. This day tends Iranian to go for picnic to make a memorable day from the last day of Nowruz. As a public holiday, people spend a large chunk of time at the heart of nature in order to respect the earth and nature, believing that honoring the nature will bring them happiness and a year full of blessing.
One of the noteworthy nights of Persians’ ancient world is the last night of autumn that is called Yalda. The longest night of the year has been celebrated by Iranians in order to celebrate the victory of light over darkness. This night is accompanied by family gatherings and some traditions including reading poems of Hafiz and Ferdowsi (two prominent Persian poets), eating nuts and sweets as well as fruits, particularly pomegranate and watermelon. The former one is a symbol of blessing and fertility, believing that brings happiness because of its red color. Additionally, the latter one as a summer fruit, reminds of summer and heat, believing through the winter, cold and disease will not overcome you by eating it.
Chaharshanbeh soori has been considered the distinguished Iranian celebration which is held at the last Wednesday of the year, just some days before Nowruz. In this ancient ritual, fire play a crucial role, which people set fire (bonfire) to jump over it in order to stave off the diseases and hail the well-ness and health. In fact, fire in the history of ancient Iran is a symbol of lightning, purity and life. In addition, Chaharshanbeh Soori account for two words, Chaharshnbeh means Wednesday and Soori means fire that it is truly deserves the name of festival of fire. This exciting festival is a first step to welcome spring with a promise of a new year full of happiness and vitality. Rose Water festival: Growing one of the most beautiful and fragrant flowers, rose (Mohammadi flower) at the heart of desert city, Kashan, could be considered as one of the wonders of Iran. Kashan and its nearest village such as Ghamsar or Niasar host this wonderful festival which annually takes place in mid-May to mid-June. Rose water or Golab is the final product that attracts a large number of tourists to visit the process of converting rose flowers to rose water (Golab). In fact, when the newly opened buds of rose flower are harvested from the gardens of this beautiful plant, they are taken to rose production workshops to prepare this fragrant product during the rose-picking operation. This festival and high-quality produced rose water has a world reputation that no one could come back without some bottles of it. It is worth mentioning that the city of Qamsar is known as the birthplace of the best rose water in the world that even is used for washing Kaaba, the first and the most significant religious place of Muslims.