All About Nowruz for Kids
Does your family celebrate Nowruz? Many of you may already have Nowruz traditions in your household but some of you may be new to understanding the history of this holiday and how to bring new traditions alive with your children. This article is written to share all about Nowruz for kids. (and grown-up, too!) Hopefully you can learn something new that will inspire you to add to your family's springtime traditions to celebrate Persian New Year.
What is Nowruz?
Nowruz is the Persian New Year. This day is always spring equinox - marking the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
When is Nowruz celebrated?
Because Iranians use a solar calendar, the months and celebrations align with the changing of seasons. The first day of the first month, Farvardin, usually ends up falling on or around March 21 on the Gregorian calendar.
What does Nowruz mean?
The meaning of Nowruz can be broken into two words: now meaning "new" and ruz meaning "day." In English, you may see the word written several ways: Nowruz, Norooz, Nouruz or Nauruz.
When did Nowruz originate?
Although there is not an exact date, it is known that Nowruz likely originated from Zoroastrianism several thousands of years ago. Nowruz is considered a holy day for Zoroastrians, Baháʼís and some Muslim communities. For most, it is considered a secular holiday and is celebrated in many countries including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and more.
How do people celebrate Nowruz?There are many traditions associated with Nowruz. Some include:
a deep spring cleaning of the home
purchasing a new outfit (and even underwear!)
visiting friends and family - elders first!
eating sweets, tea and mixed nuts while visiting
setting up a haft-sin
What is a Haft-Sin?
A haft-sin is a display set up for Nowruz that consists of seven items that begin with the letter "sin" (س) or "s." These items hold special significance to the coming of spring and include:
- sabzeh - sprouts
- samanu - sweet wheat pudding
- senjed - dried fruit of a lotus tree
- sib - apple
- sir - garlic
- serkeh - vinegar
- somaq - sumac
Many haft-sin are elaborately displayed with additional items that sometimes include fresh flowers such as hyacinths or tulips, a real or artificial goldfish, coins, a mirror and a book of wisdom.
What is Chaharshanbe Suri?
Chaharshanbe Suri is a celebration on the eve of the last Wednesday before Nowruz. Families and friends join outside to jump over bonfires, light firecrackers and make loud noises with spoons and bowls.
While jumping over bonfires, it is common to recite, "sorkhi to az man, zardi man az to," which translates to "my yellow (weakness) s to you and your red (strength) to me," symbolizing an exchange with the fire.
How long is Nowruz celebrated?
Festivities begin on Chaharshanbe Suri and officially at the exact time of the spring equinox when families join around their haft-sin. The following thirteen days the haft-sin usually remains up while families celebrate, visiting with one another and entertaining guests - serving tea and sweets and sometimes hosting parties.
What do families do on Sizdah Bedar?
On the 13th day of spring, families celebrate outdoors on Sizdah Bedar by having picnics in nature. The green sprouts that have been grown are brought and are thrown into running water.
How can kids celebrate Nowruz?
All of the customs associated with Nowruz are kid-friendly. Nowruz for kids may include:
- helping to clean house - make a special check list to encourage participation and work together as family to complete it
- sending Nowruz cards
- picking out a new outfit
- completing Nowruz activities
- growing sabzeh
- helping to prepare sweets or mixed nuts
- setting up a haft-sin that is child appropriate such as the Hands-On Haft-Sin
- participating in a kid-friendly Chaharshanbe celebration
- helping to prepare sweets
- pack a picnic for sizdah bedar
Hopefully you have learned all about Nowruz and have some ideas for Nowruz for kids that will help you to bring the holiday alive for your little one.
Looking for more? Little Persian offers the Hands-On Haft-Sin, Nowruz Family Fun Pack, Nowruz Activity Box and a Nowruz Activities Digital Download - all designed to help you easily incorporate Nowruz fun and learning with your child.
Little Persian has a mission to provide high quality Persian learning materials. Little Persian is more than just learning materials. It is a movement to connect children and their families to Persian heritage and to one another.
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