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March 1, 2011 > Nowruz celebrates the New Year

Nowruz celebrates the New Year

A unique celebration welcomes the New Year in the Iranian (Persian) culture. Nowruz is a joyful time to welcome spring at Vernal Equinox, the astronomical change of seasons. Ancient Persia celebrated this occasion over 3,000 years ago and it continues to be observed in much of Asia, Afghanistan and many neighboring countries. This is a time to reset calendars since length of daylight is equal between both hemispheres of Earth. Ancestors are remembered and revered during the celebration. Just prior to the beginning of Nowruz, traditional bonfires are lit and celebrants leap over them to symbolize the triumph of good (light) over evil (darkness).

Nowruz celebrations that may last several weeks include thorough house cleaning followed by visits between family and friends. Positive and friendly attitudes during Nowruz presage continuation of good tidings and prosperity throughout the year. Rebirth of a new year is announced by a man called Haji Firuz, a representation of the Sumerian god of sacrifice, Domuzi, who dies at the end of each year and is reborn at New Year.

A traditional table setting, "Haft Sin" is composed of seven specific symbolic items including wheat, barley or lentil sprouts symbolizing rebirth; samanu, a sweet pudding made from wheat germ - symbolizing affluence; senjed - the dried fruit of the oleaster tree - symbolizing love; sir - garlic - symbolizing medicine; sib - apples - symbolizing beauty and health; somaq - sumac berries - symbolizing (the color of) sunrise and serkeh - vinegar - symbolizing age and patience.

Niosha Dance Academy is presenting a special performance and celebration at the Fremont Main Library for all to learn about and share the joy of the Nowruz. Everyone is invited to share in the beginning of a New Year.

Saturday, March 7
1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Traditional music, dance, poetry and snacks
Fremont Main Library, Fukaya Room,
2400 Stevenson Blvd., Fremont
(408) 656-6565

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