Many of us are aware of Chinese New Year, and the events that go along with it. However, there is another celebration that is not as well known in this country: No-Rooz, which is the Persian New Year. Starting on March 20th, it marks the beginning of spring and the Iranian year, and has been celebrated for over 3,000 years. During the thirteen days of No-Rooz events take place in Iran and around the world, including the New York Persian Parade and similar events in Los Angeles.
Preparations a few weeks before the New Year include housecleaning, baking pastries and sewing or buying new clothes, meant as a sign of renewal. Traditionally the family will set a special No-Rooz table, known as Haft Seen, filled with special foods and other items that represent hoped-for qualities such as peace and prosperity.
During No-Rooz people have parties, visit with friends and relatives, and give gifts. At the end of the thirteen days comes Seezdah Bedar, a day everyone spends outdoors, enjoying a big picnic and socializing with the larger Persian community. Here in the Sacramento area the gathering place for this special day is the park at Folsom Lake.
To learn more about Persian culture, visit the library for books, DVDs in Farsi with English subtitles, and other resources. There are audio sets for those wanting to learn the Persian language, and the Arcade, Carmichael, Central and Fair Oaks Libraries have collections of books written in Farsi. Happy No-Rooz!
by B. Daugherty