According to the Hegira calendar, 21st March is the International Day of Nowruz, which starts with the begining of Spring season.
Nowruz means a new day, and it is the first day of Hamal (Hamal is the first month of Hegira calendar. This calender is formally used in Afghanistan and some other Islamic countries and it has started from Hegirat of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) from Mecca to Medina. The upcoming year of Hegira is 1396).
Nowruz is the Persian New Year and it is one of the oldest jubilation remained from the ancient period. This festival became an international festival in 2010 and it is celebrated in Afghanistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and some other countries.
In general Nowruz means moderation day of spring (moderation in day and night). The origin of Nowruz is not clear but some people ascribed it to Babelian and some others ascribed it to Zardosht. It is also called Jamshide Celebration.
On this day people prepare table of Nowruzi such as Haft-Seen - seven symbolic items starting with Seen a letter of Persian alphabet, which includes:
- Sabzeh – wheat growing in a dish (symbolizing rebirth)
- Samanak or Samanu – sweet pudding made from wheat germ (symbolizing af fluence)
- Senjed – dried oleaster (symbolizing love)
- Seer – garlic (symbolizing the medicine and health)
- Seeb – apple (symbolizing beauty)
- Somaq – sumac fruit (symbolizing the color of sunrise)
- Serkeh – vinegar (symbolizing old age and patience)
Additionally some people put seven dry fruit on the table; a mix of dry fruit and it can also be put in the water.
Besides, at Nowruz people wear new clothes and go sightseeing, do picnics or meet friends.
The traditional Janda Bala also takes place in northern Balkh province of Afghanistan during the Nowruz day. Afghans raise the flag of Imam Ali and call it Janda Bala and they pray to Allah for a better upcomming year.
Nowruzi is also a part of Nowruz celebration. Nowruzi is a special culture of Afghans, in which the family of a son who has bben engaged to a girl, gives some gifts to their future bride and appreciates her. Clothes, dry fruite, fish and jelabi are Nowruzi for the engaged girls. This culture carries out before Nowruz with traditional musics.
At the end I wish happy Nowruz to all and I wish all my countrymen a Happy Nowruz along with peace and security!
Mohammad Elias Hatimi