If you saw any people leaping over fires, grilling tasty kebabs or holding elaborate picnics last weekend, you may have witnessed celebrations of Nowruz which is also spelled as Navroz, the Persian New Year, which marks the start of spring across large parts of the Middle East and Central Asia. Nowruz is also celebrated within different sects of Shia doctrine and one of them is Aga khani.
Navroz is the beginning of the New Year for some communities. It dates back as far as the 6th Century BC, back when the Iranian community was evenly Zoroastrians. Once the community divided over the course of history, people of Iranian origin worldwide continued following Zoroastrian traditions (Navroz) and with that the Iranian New Year as well. It is celebrated on 21 March and it was named after the Persian ruler Jamshed, in whose supremacy the festival took a start and now Jamshed-e-Navroz is symbolic of rebuilding and new life
According to Iranian tradition, the table is adorned with at least seven basic items all starting with ‘S’ that symbolize different concepts for spring and the New Year. Out of seven there are six of them which is a sweet pudding called samanu made from wheat germ that symbolizes prosperity, a sort of dried fruit called senjed in Persian that is symbolic of love, garlic or seer that symbolizes medicine, saib (apples) for health sprinkled with oregano, sirka (vinegar) symbolizing age and patience, sekah (coins) that symbolizes wealth.
The festival of Navroz honors a century’s old, agrarian tradition that over time was included into various cultures and faith customs. Today, Navroz is celebrated in many parts of the Middle East and Central and South Asia, mainly among peoples influenced by Persian and Turkic civilizations. In countries like Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Kyrgyzstan, Navroz is observed as a public holiday in some of places.
In Central Asian traditions, dried fruits, nuts and grains are distributed, which symbolizes blessings of quantity and nourishment. Navroz is also a time of family gatherings and festive meals, thus spiraling family bonds. Festivities of Navroz begin with cleaning and decorating of homes. Jasmine and rose are flowers primarily used for decoration besides other symbolic objects of Navroz.
Parsees, on the other hand, visit the fire temple for thanksgiving prayers and offering sandalwood sticks to the fire. After the prayers, they greet each other ‘Sal Mubarak’ and exchange gifts. They watch themselves in a mirror and ask for forgiveness and take a promise to hold on their worldly desires. Whereas Aga Khanis give out boil eggs as a symbol of birth and wheat and sugar for wealth and sweetness within their communities.
It’s amazing to see that our society is dispersed in different classes and sect but each one of us have something in common which link us and make us no different, whether its Easter of Christians or Navroz of Persian, whether its Ramzan for Muslims or Diwali for Hindus all of these celebrations and cultures have same concepts and thoughts behind but still world out there manage to fight and kill each other in the false name of religion. It’s not the religion or culture you belong it’s the ego a human have!