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Persian New Year

Monday 13 May, 2013
by Jonathan Billingham
NCV hold their own celebration of Norooz

As Spring arrives in the Northern Hemisphere, Norooz is celebrated by Persians all around the world. Norooz is a festival that has been celebrated for thousands of years. It is a secular holiday that is enjoyed by people of several faiths. Norooz is the day that marks the first day of spring in the Solar Calendar and the beginning of the New Year in Persian culture. This celebration has its roots in Ancient Iran. However, for centuries Norooz has been celebrated and observed in other countries as well, including Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan.

Residents of NCV held their own celebration of Norooz on Thursday 21st of March. All NCV residents were invited to what turned out to be a very popular event.

Many residents came dressed to impress. Ahsan Kabir Murad and Pesila Ratnayake, dressed especially for the occasion and re-enacted a tradition of two characters who are associated with Norooz. The first character is Haji Firooz. He is a young, playful and clownish character, dancing, chanting, and playing his tambourine to bring good cheer and announce the arrival Norooz. The second character Amoo Norooz is an older and respected character who gives out gifts during Norooz.

A key characteristic of Norooz is that people celebrate with music and dance. NCV residents certainly did that, dancing to musicprovided by a DJ. Pistachios, traditional sweets and drinks were also served to help residents experience a taste of the Persian culture.

The walls of the Main Common Room were decorated with Persian cloths. A traditional table settingcalled Haft-Seen,was also set up (pictured below). The Haft-Seen table includes seven items all starting with the letter “S” (س) in the Persian alphabet. Haft-Seen was originally called Haftchin (Haftĉin) derived from the word Chin (چین), meaning “to place” and Haft (هفت), the number 7. Event organiser and NCV resident Samira Abbasalipour gave a presentation on the tradition behind Norooz and the Haft-Seen table setting.

Everyone had a very fun night dancing and enjoying each other’s company through the lens of an ancient and interesting culture.