iran culture dating

Iranians celebrate the following days based on a solar calendar, in addition to important religious days of islamic and shina calendars, which are based on a lunar calendar.

  • nowruz (Iranian New Year) – Starts from 21 March
  • sizdah be dar (Nature Day)
  • jashn-e-tirgan (Water Festival)
  • jashn-e-sadeh (Fire Festival)
  • jashn-e-mehregan (Autumn Festival)
  • shab-e-yalda (Winter Feast)
  • charshanbeh suri

Nowruz (Persian: نوروزNowruz, [nouˈɾuːz]; literally “new day”) is the name of the Iranian New Year, also known as the Persian New Year, which is celebrated worldwide by the Iranians, along with some other ethno-linguistic groups, as the beginning of the New Year.

Although having Iranian and religious Zoroastrian origins, Nowruz has been celebrated by people from diverse ethno-linguistic communities. It has been celebrated for over 3,000 years in Western Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Basin, and the Balkans. It is a secular holiday for most celebrants that is enjoyed by people of several different faiths, but remains a holy day for Zoroastrians.

Nowruz is the day of the vernal equinox, and marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. It marks the first day of the first month (Farvardin) in the Iranian calendar. It usually occurs on March 21 or the previous or following day, depending on where it is observed. The moment the sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year, and families gather together to observe the rituals.

Chaharshanbe Suri

The persian name of the festival consists of Čahāršanbe , the name of wednesday in the calendars, and suri , most plausibly meaning “red” and referring either to fire or to ruddiness.Local varieties of the name of the festival include Azerbaijani Gūl Čāršamba (in Ardabil), Kurdish Kola Čowāršamba and Čowāršama Koli (in Kurdistan), and Isfahani Persian Čāršambe Sorxi (in isfahan). To the Yezidi Kurds, it is known as Çarşema Sor.

Jumping over the fire

Before the start of the festival, people gather brushwood in an open, free exterior space. At sunset, after making one or more bonfires, they jump over the flames, singing sorxi-ye to az man, zardi-ye man az to, literally meaning “[let] your ruddiness [be] mine, my paleness yours”, or a local equivalent of it. This is considered a purificatory practice.

Spoon-banging

Charshanbe Suri includes a custom similar to trick-or-treating that is called qāšoq-zani , literally translated as “spoon-banging”. It is observed by people wearing disguises and going door-to-door to hit spoons against plates or bowls and receive packaged snacks.

Jashn-e-Tirgan

Tirgan is an ancient Iranian tradition which is still celebrated in various regions of Iran, including Mazenderan, Khorasan, and Arak. It is widely attested by historians such as Gardezi, Biruni, and Masudi, as well as European travelers during the Safavid era.

Statue of Arash the Archer at the Sa’dabad Complex, Tehran.

The celebration is dedicated to Tishtrya, an archangel who appeared in the sky to generate thunder and lightning for much needed rain.

Legend says that Arash the Archer was a man chosen to settle a land dispute between the leaders of the lands Iran and Turan. Arash was to loose his arrow, on the 13th day of Tir, and where the arrow landed, would lie the border between the two kingdoms. Turan had suffered from the lack of rain, and Iran rejoiced at the settlement of the borders, then rain poured onto the two countries and there was peace between them.

It is stated in Biruni’s chronology that “by the order of God, the wind bore the arrow away from the mountains of Ruyan and brought the utmost frontier of Khorasan between Fergana and Tapuria.” Gardizi has given a similar description, although he notes that “the arrow of Arash fell in the area between Fargana and Bactria.”

Jashn-e-Mehregan

Mehregan: Festival of Mehr (or Mihr). A day of thanksgiving. It is a day which everyone show the mehr or the love they have for each other and it is one of the most important days in the year.

Jashne Sade

  • Jashne Sade: A mid-winter feast to honor fire and to “defeat the forces of darkness, frost and cold” in which people gather around and build a fire so that they can receive good things from the fire and give the fire their incompleteness.

Shab-e Yalda

Shab-e Yalda (“Yalda night” Persian: شب یلدا‎) or Shab-e Chelleh (“night of forty”, Persian: شب چله‎) is a Persian festival celebrated on the “longest and darkest night of the year,” Yalda is a winter solstice celebration. that is, in the night of the Northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice. Calendrically, this corresponds to the night of December 20/21 (±1) in the Gregorian calendar, and to the night between the last day of the ninth month (Azar) and the first day of the tenth month (Dey) of the Iranian civil calendar.

The longest and darkest night of the year is a time when friends and family gather together to eat, drink and read poetry (especially Hafez) until well after midnight. Fruits and nuts are eaten and pomegranates and watermelons are particularly significant. The red color in these fruits symbolizes the crimson hues of dawn and glow of life. The poems of Divan-e Hafez, which can be found in the bookcases of most Iranian families, are read or recited on various occasions such as this festival and Nowruz. Shab-e Yalda was officially added to Iran’s List of National Treasures in a special ceremony in 2008.

Haft-sin

The primary Haft-Seen items, which are more than seven, are:

  1. Sabzeh – wheat, barley, mung bean or lentil sprouts growing in a dish,
  2. Samanu – sweet pudding made from wheat germ,
  3. Senjed – dried Persian olive,
  4. Seer – garlic,
  5. Seeb – apple,
  6. Somāq – sumac,
  7. Serkeh – vinegar,
  8. Sekkeh – coin.

Additional items

The following items may also appear on the Haft-Seen table as ornaments or for the sake of completeness. Although some of these items are Persian symbols, they are not the main part of the traditional Haft-Seen.

  • A holy book, usually Qur’an or Avesta
  • Divan-e Hafez, or Shahnameh; Iranian poetry books
  • a mirror with two candles,
  • a goldfish in a glass bowl,
  • a lamp
  • painted eggs
  • a bowl of water
  • wheat or bread
  • hyacinth flower
  • Some traditional confectionaries like Shirini nokhodchi or Nanberenji, and some candies.

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