Person placing a tray of coins on a Nowruz table display.

women dancing in traditional dresses to celebrate Nowruz
A Nowruz celebration in Cupertino, CA

Nowruz (“new day”) is a new year holiday that has its roots in Iranian culture and the Zoroastrian religion. It is often called the Persian New Year. Nowruz starts at the moment of the spring equinox (the moment spring begins). For California, this would be on Tuesday, March 19, 2024 shortly after 8:00 PM. Nowruz’s start marks the first day of Farvardin, which is the first month of the Iranian solar calendar. In Iran, the observance lasts thirteen days. Nowruz, called by different names and celebrated in various ways, is observed by people of different faiths and ethnicities, in many countries of Western and Central Asia and indeed around the world.

dancers and crowd celebrating Nowruz before the Eiffel Tower
A celebration in Paris

Many people who celebrate Nowruz create a haft-seen in their household (the picture above shows an example). The haft-seen is an arrangement of seven symbolic items, often placed on a table or mantle, the names of which all begin with the Persian letter seen (additional items may sometimes be included). The items of the haft-seen represent, among many things, health, fertility, and the rebirth of nature. Common celebratory activities for Nowruz include cleaning the home, shopping for clothes and flowers, visiting relatives and friends, gift-giving, cooking, and feasting. Community celebrations which may include dancing, singing, bonfires, traditional clothing and fireworks are also common.

To help celebrate Nowruz, SJPL is offering craft programs and cultural events from March 15 through 19!

Happy Nowruz, book cover

Happy Nowruz by Najmieh Batmanglij

"Nowruz - the Persian New Year - is one of the world's great festivals, a full month of activities celebrating the earth, the arrival of spring, and the rebirth of nature. Most of all, it is a festival for families. Children and adults alike can share in preparing special meals, decorating the house, and performing the many ceremonies that welcome the New Year. This book is a guide to customs thousands of years old yet as vital as ever - enjoyable for families no matter where they live or what their beliefs. Happy Nowruz offers twenty-five fun, easy, and innovative Nowruz recipes, with lots of photos to show you what to do."   -- from Happy Nowruz

Nowruz Events at the Library