International Day of Nowruz

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2024 Date21 March 2024
2025 Date21 March 2025

International Day of Nowruz

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International Day of Nowruz History

International Day of Nowruz marks the start of the New Year for many cultures across Western Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caucasians. Recognised by UNESCO as a cultural heritage of humanity, it presents an ancient spring festival of Persian origin, rich with symbolism derived from the Zoroastrian faith. Nowruz, which directly translates to ‘new day,’ holds great significance in promoting peace, solidarity, reconciliation and neighbourliness, aimed at building a sense of community and shared values.

Nowruz has been celebrated for over 3,000 years, originating in Persia (modern-day Iran) during the Achaemenid Empire. For the United Kingdom, the importance of International Day of Nowruz extends beyond cultural festivities. It stands as a unique opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate multicultural diversity, adding richness to the social fabric of the nation. Increasingly, it also serves as a tool for fostering unity and intercultural dialogue among the growing diaspora of Persian and Central Asian communities within the UK.

In the UK, Nowruz is celebrated with splendour within many Persian, Kurdish and Turkish societies, along with communities hailing from the Central Asian region. The observance typically includes preparation of the Haft-Seen table, filled with seven symbolic items starting with the Persian letter 'S', feasting, music and dance. Schools often hold special educational sessions and cultural events to promote multicultural understanding. The exact date of Nowruz varies each year, but it generally falls on the spring equinox, which is around the 20th or 21th of March.

Facts about International Day of Nowruz

  • International Day of Nowruz is celebrated by many countries in western, central, and southern Asia. These include Afghanistan, Georgia, Albania, Iran, Iraq, India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan.
  • The oldest records of Nowruz go back to 247 B.C during the Arsacid/Parthian times.
  • One tradition during Nowruz is to pay short house visits to family, friends, and neighbors.
  • Food plays a significant role in Nowruz celebrations in the UK. Elements of the Haft Seen, the traditional Nowruz table setting, are available in Persian grocer stores in the UK.
  • Various cities in the UK, including London and Manchester, hold Nowruz festivals and events promoting unity, peace, and multiculturalism. The events are open to all communities, reflecting the diverse cultural landscape of the UK.

Top things to do in the UK for International Day of Nowruz

  • Give your family members gifts. On the first day of Nowruz, family members gather around the Haft Seen table and await the exact moment of spring. Once it arrivesm, everyone exchanges gifts.
  • Enjoy a picnic. On the last day of Nowruz it is custom to go outdoors and have picnics and parties as a way to avoid bad luck.
  • Attend the Nowruz celebrations in Birmingham: Apart from London, Birmingham also hosts large Nowruz celebrations with traditional music, dance, and food.
  • Read a book to learn more about Nowruz in United Kingdom:
    Celebrating Norouz (Persian New Year) - by Yassaman Jalali: This book covers the customs and traditions of Nowruz.
    Haft Seen - by Sedigheh Shakerin: This is an Iranian book that celebrates Nowruz and provides insight into how thousands of Iranians across the world celebrate the holiday.

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