When is Nowruz Celebrated?

Nowruz, the Persian New Year, is a festival that celebrates the arrival of spring and the renewal of life. It is one of the most important holidays in Iran and is also celebrated in many other countries around the world, including Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Nowruz is celebrated on the first day of spring, which is usually on March 20 or 21. This date is determined by the position of the sun in the sky and is based on the Persian calendar. In the Gregorian calendar, Nowruz falls on March 21 or 22.

Date of Nowruz

Nowruz, also known as the Persian New Year, is celebrated annually on the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

According to the Persian calendar, Nowruz falls on the first day of Farvardin, the first month of the year. This date corresponds to the spring equinox, which occurs around March 20 or 21 each year.

Corresponding Gregorian Date

In the Gregorian calendar, the corresponding date for Nowruz varies slightly from year to year due to the difference between the two calendars. However, it typically falls between March 19 and March 21.

Significance of Vernal Equinox

When is Nowruz Celebrated?

The vernal equinox, also known as the spring equinox, is a crucial astronomical event that marks the beginning of spring and the astrological new year in the Northern Hemisphere. It occurs when the Sun crosses the celestial equator moving northward, resulting in equal day and night durations globally.

For Nowruz, the vernal equinox holds immense significance as it symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness, renewal, and the start of a new agricultural cycle. It is believed that the Sun’s movement into the Northern Hemisphere brings warmth, fertility, and abundance to the Earth.

The Vernal Equinox and the Astrological New Year

In astrology, the vernal equinox marks the beginning of the astrological new year, which is a time of fresh starts and new beginnings. The Sun’s entry into the sign of Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, symbolizes the initiation of a new astrological cycle and the potential for growth, renewal, and transformation.

Traditions and Customs

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Nowruz is celebrated with a variety of traditional practices and customs that symbolize renewal and rebirth. These traditions have been passed down through generations and hold significant cultural and symbolic meanings.


Haft-Seen is a traditional table setting that is an essential part of Nowruz celebrations. It consists of seven specific items, each of which represents a different aspect of life:

  • Sabzeh (wheat or lentil sprouts): Symbolizes rebirth and new beginnings
  • Samanu (wheat pudding): Symbolizes abundance and prosperity
  • Senjed (dried oleaster fruits): Symbolizes love and affection
  • Sir (garlic): Symbolizes health and protection
  • Sib (apples): Symbolizes beauty and fertility
  • Somaq (sumac): Symbolizes the sunrise and the victory of good over evil
  • Serkeh (vinegar): Symbolizes patience and wisdom

Spring Cleaning

In preparation for Nowruz, people engage in a thorough spring cleaning of their homes. This symbolizes the removal of negativity and the welcoming of new beginnings. Every corner of the house is cleaned, and old and unused items are discarded or donated.

Family Gatherings

Nowruz is a time for family gatherings and reunions. Extended families come together to celebrate, exchange gifts, and enjoy traditional Nowruz dishes such as sabzi polo mahi (herbed rice with fish) and kuku sabzi (herb omelet).

4. Regional Variations

Nowruz celebrations vary across the world, reflecting the diverse cultural heritage of the regions where it is observed.

The table below highlights some unique traditions, dishes, and cultural expressions associated with Nowruz in different countries:

Country Region Key Traditions
Iran Central Asia
  • Haft-Sin table with seven symbolic items
  • Sizdah Bedar picnic on the 13th day
  • Jumping over bonfires
Afghanistan Central Asia
  • Jashn-e-Nawroz festival with music, dance, and poetry
  • Buzkashi, a traditional equestrian sport
  • Preparing Haft-Meva, a dried fruit platter
Azerbaijan Caucasus
  • Novruz Bayramı, a national holiday with parades and celebrations
  • Khoncha, a tray with traditional sweets and treats
  • Novruz fire jumping for purification
Turkey Middle East
  • Nevruz, a national holiday with family gatherings and traditional meals
  • Hıdırellez, a spring festival with bonfires and picnics
  • Sekerci Bayramı, a sweet festival with candy and desserts
Uzbekistan Central Asia
  • Navruz, a national holiday with traditional music and dance
  • Sumalak, a sweet wheat pudding prepared for the occasion
  • Wrestling matches and horse races

5. Modern Adaptations

In recent times, Nowruz has undergone various adaptations to keep pace with the changing lifestyles and societal norms.

Technology and globalization have played a significant role in shaping the modern celebration of Nowruz. The internet and social media have made it easier for people to connect with others, share their experiences, and learn about different Nowruz traditions.

Social Media

Social media platforms have become a popular way to celebrate Nowruz. People use social media to post photos and videos of their Nowruz celebrations, share recipes, and connect with friends and family who are celebrating the holiday in different parts of the world.

Historical Origins

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Nowruz’s roots can be traced back to ancient Persia and the Zoroastrian religion. Zoroastrianism, founded by the prophet Zoroaster, emerged in Persia around the 6th century BCE and played a significant role in shaping the cultural and religious traditions of the region.

In Zoroastrianism, Nowruz marked the beginning of the new year and was associated with the arrival of spring, renewal, and the triumph of good over evil. The festival was celebrated with rituals and ceremonies that symbolized purification, rebirth, and the renewal of the natural world.

Zoroastrian Beliefs

  • Zoroastrianism emphasized the importance of light, truth, and purity.
  • Nowruz was seen as a time to cleanse oneself from darkness and embrace the light.
  • The festival involved rituals such as the lighting of fires, the preparation of special foods, and the wearing of new clothes.

Over time, Nowruz evolved and incorporated elements from other cultures and traditions, including Islam. However, its core significance as a celebration of the arrival of spring and the renewal of life has remained unchanged throughout history.

Symbolism of Renewal and Rebirth

Nowruz is deeply imbued with symbolism that reflects the themes of renewal, rebirth, and new beginnings. Spring, the season in which Nowruz falls, is a time of natural rejuvenation and growth. The melting of snow and the sprouting of new vegetation symbolize the cleansing of the soul and the start of a new cycle.

Spring and New Beginnings

The arrival of spring is a potent symbol of hope and renewal. The Earth awakens from its winter slumber, and life begins anew. Nowruz marks the transition from the dark and cold of winter to the warmth and light of spring, representing the triumph of life over adversity.

Cleansing of the Soul

Nowruz is also a time for spiritual cleansing and purification. The rituals and traditions associated with the festival, such as housecleaning, bathing, and wearing new clothes, symbolize the removal of negativity and the preparation for a fresh start. By participating in these practices, individuals symbolically shed the burdens of the past and open themselves to the possibilities of the future.

Reflection in Traditions and Rituals

The symbolism of renewal and rebirth is evident in many Nowruz traditions and rituals. The Haft-Seen table, a centerpiece of the Nowruz celebration, features seven symbolic items that represent different aspects of life and renewal, such as new growth (sprouts), purity (water), and fertility (eggs). The tradition of jumping over a bonfire (Chaharshanbe Suri) also symbolizes the cleansing of negativity and the welcoming of new beginnings.

Last Word

Nowruz is a time for family and friends to come together and celebrate the new year. It is a time to reflect on the past year and to look forward to the future. Nowruz is also a time to renew one’s commitment to family, community, and tradition.

Answers to Common Questions

What is the exact date of Nowruz?

Nowruz is celebrated on the first day of spring, which is usually on March 20 or 21.

What is the significance of the vernal equinox in relation to Nowruz?

The vernal equinox is the day when the sun crosses the celestial equator and the day and night are of equal length. This day marks the beginning of spring and the astrological new year.

What are some of the traditional practices associated with Nowruz?

Some of the traditional practices associated with Nowruz include Haft-Seen, spring cleaning, and family gatherings.

How is Nowruz celebrated in different regions of the world?

Nowruz is celebrated in different ways in different regions of the world. In Iran, Nowruz is a national holiday and is celebrated with a variety of traditional customs and rituals. In Afghanistan, Nowruz is also a national holiday and is celebrated with music, dancing, and feasting.

How has Nowruz evolved in modern times?

Nowruz has evolved in modern times to include new traditions and customs. For example, many people now use social media to connect with friends and family during Nowruz.

What is the historical origins of Nowruz?

Nowruz has its origins in ancient Zoroastrianism and has been celebrated for over 3,000 years.

What is the symbolism of Nowruz as a time of renewal and rebirth?

Nowruz is a time of renewal and rebirth because it marks the beginning of spring and the new year. It is a time to reflect on the past year and to look forward to the future.