How to Celebrate the Persian New Year (Nowruz)

Are you looking to celebrate the Persian New New Year (Nowruz)? March 20th, for Persians around the world, is a day of joy and celebration known as Nowruz. Nowruz is the traditional Iranian festival of spring which starts at the exact moment of the vernal equinox, commencing the start of the spring. It is considered the start of the New Year among Iranians. This article will help you if you're an Iranian-American or just a simple person who likes Nowruz, you may want to celebrate the Persian new year within the 13-days-of-happiness with your family.


  1. Image titled Haft_Seen
    Set the Seven-Seen's table . The most important part of every Nowruz is the special 7-Seen (Haft Sīn) tabletop (Sofreh) which includes 7 symbolic items all starting with the letter Seen (English translation:letter S) س in the Persian alphabet.The Haft-Seen items are:
    • Sabzeh (سبزه) – wheat, barley, mung bean or lentil sprouts growing in a dish - symbolizing rebirth.
    • Samanu (سمنو) – sweet pudding made from wheat germ – symbolizing affluence.
    • Senjed (سنجد) – dried oleaster Wild Olive fruit – symbolizing love.
    • Seer (سیر) – garlic – symbolizing the medicine and health.
    • Seeb (سیب) – apple – symbolizing beauty.
    • Somāq (سماق) – sumac fruit – symbolizing (the color of) sunrise.
    • Serkeh (سرکه) – vinegar – symbolizing old-age and patience.
    • Other symbolic items that may also appear on the Haft-Seen table are Divan-e Hafez, a Persian poetry book (like Shahname-ye Ferdowsi), a mirror, a goldfish in a bowl (represents life and the end of astral year-picas), a low brazier full of fire, a lamp sprays of cypress or pine, pomegranates, painted eggs, coins (as a symbol of wealth), candles for each member of the family, a bowl of water and finally wheat or bread.
    • In many historical sources states that "Haft Seen" was "Haft Sheen"(seven SH) at the first and then it has changed. Nowadays, many Iranians set the Haft-Sheen table to remind the big and powerful Achaemenid empire of Iran. the symbolic items of Haft-Sheen are:Candles(Sham'), wine(Sharab), sweets(Shirini), honey(Shahd), bush(Shemshad), syrup(Sharbat) and candy branches(Shakhe nabat) or anemone(Shaghayegh)
  2. Image titled Nowruz (2)
    Clean your house from top to bottom! Cleaning the house is one of the customs of Nowruz. This can symbolize a fresh, new start. Some Persian people even buy new furniture for their house which is optional.
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    Jump over fire! On the last Wednesday of the year, Iranians celebrate Chahārshanbe Suri which symbolizes the purification of your winter blues. Neighbors gather together in the streets to make bonfires and jump over them while singing the traditional songs. Nowadays, young people would prefer to blow up fireworks. Many elders would encourage them to take part in the tradition.
  4. Image titled Persian New Year Nowruz 1392 (2013)
    Count your blessings and thank God. Nowruz is a fresh start, and you need to be very happy to celebrate it. As a belief of Iranians, if you smile during Nowruz then you'll smile for the whole year. If you don't smile, get ready for a not-really-good year. Be wise enough to count only the blessings, the friends, and the joys you’ve received in the past year.
  5. Image titled Traditional Persian Instruments
    Get involved with your community. All Iranian communities, big or small, have a party in the afternoon till late at night to celebrate the New Year. In big cities, like Los Angeles, there are concerts performed by famous Persian singers. In smaller cities, the Iranian cultural society rent a place. There is usually a dance floor and sweets. The parties usually last late into the night with lots of dancing and merriment.
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    Buy new clothes. It's a very common custom to buy new clothes before Nowruz in Persian countries and wear them for all the 13 days.
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    Meet the Persian Santa Clauses "Amoo Nowruz" and "Haji Firouz". There are 2 Santa Clauses in Persian New Year's celebration. Haji Firouz walks around the streets and plays his loud tambourine while singing traditional songs. His face and hands are painted black to represent soot from the fire. Amoo Nowruz, is the one who puts presents in good kids rooms as they're sleeping, waiting for their wishes to come true. Both wear a red cloak and a red felt hat.
  8. Image titled Grandma gets some bread (not the money kind)
    Visit your relatives. One of the best Nowruz customs is visiting relatives, especially elder ones. In the 13-days of bless, people will go and visit their old grandparents and other family members. Young kids and teenagers get a lot of money (called as Eydi) from the elders.
  9. Image titled Happy Nowruz نوروزتان پیروز
    Learn the New Year greeting, “Norooz Pirooz”. During the 13-days, Iranians prepare for the occasion and get ready for the guests to come over. They eat the traditional meal “sabzi-polo-mahi” (salmon and spinach rice) together while wishing each other the best of luck for the New Year and saying “Norooz Pirooz” which means "Happy Nowruz".
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    Enjoy the new year song! Sing the New Year's song with your family and share your happiness with them. The Persian new year's song:گشت گرداگرد مهر تابناك،ايران زمين/روز نو امد و شد شادی برون زندر كمين/ای تو يزدان، ای تو گرداننده ی مهر و سپهر/برترينش كن اين گاه و اين زمين/پاينده باد ايران شاد باد ايرانی
    • The English translation: The sun is shining all over our home, Iran/the new day came and happiness is with it/oh Lord, you are who owns the sky and sun's moves/please make the sun and earth at the best position right now/long live Iran and be happy Iranians.
  11. Image titled Band Darreh (Persian بند دره ) in Sizdah Be_dar Festival
    Celebrate the last day of Nowruz as Sizdah Be-dar. On the thirteenth day of the New Year, Iranians leave their houses to enjoy nature and have a picnic outdoors. This is part of the Sizdah Be-dar ceremony. They believe that if the 13th of Farvardin(the first month in Persian calendar) of a year is good, the whole year can be amazing! The greenery (Sabze) grown for the Haft-Seen setting and the goldfish are thrown away, particularly into running water. It is also customary for young single people, especially young girls, to tie the leaves of the greenery before discarding it, expressing a wish to find a partner. Furthermore, on the day of Sizdah Be-dar, there's a custom that you can simply lie. This is called Lie of the Thirteen, which is the process of lying to someone and making them believe it!


  • If you have children, then you ought to buy a present for them, telling them that it's Amoo Nowruz's gift.


  • Chahārshanbe Suri can be as dangerous as it is enjoyable, so consider wearing short clothes when jumping over the fire.

Things You'll Need

  • The seven Seens (or Seven Sheen)
  • Other symbolic items of Haft-Seen
  • a table
  • a tabletop
  • New clothes
  • Firewood (for setting the fire on Chahārshanbe Suri)
  • Fireworks
  • a cellphone that has internet access (to coordinate the time and place of night parties with others)

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Holidays and Traditions