It’s the start of Spring in the northern hemisphere, and it marks the Persian New Year, known as Nowruz. The Iranian calendar is a solar calendar, so Nowruz always coincides with the spring equinox.
The word Nowruz is a combination of Persian words نو now—meaning “new“—and روز ruz—meaning “day“. Pronunciation varies among Persian dialects, and that is reflected in numerous spellings in English usage, including novruz, nowruz, nauruz and newroz.
Celebrations in Baku, Azerbaijan, March 2017
It is a huge month-long celebration in many countries, and has been recognised by UNESCO and included in their List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. In 2010, the United Nations declared 21st March as the International Day of Novruz. It has Iranian and Zoroastrian origins; however, it has been celebrated by diverse communities for over 3,000 years in Western Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Basin, the Balkans, and South Asia. It is a secular holiday for most celebrants, but remains a holy day for Zoroastrians, Baháʼís, and some Muslim communities.
In 2017, I was lucky enough to be in Azerbaijan during Nowruz. Baku was overflowing with visitors, with many people choosing to celebrate there. It made finding a hotel more difficult and more expensive, but worth it.
All images taken in Baku, March-April 2017
Happy celebrations, everyone!
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 21 March 2021
Posted as part of All Seasons