March 21 marks the first day of Spring, but for millions of people around the world it’s also the start of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year or Persian New Year. On Nowruz 2018, Google celebrates this holiday of rebirth and renewal with a special Google Doodle.
Nowruz, which means “new day” in Persian, has been celebrated for more than 3,000 years, and traditionally begins the very moment that the sun crosses the equator on the vernal equinox, according to Google. The holiday has roots in the ancient Zoroastrian religion and marks the first day of the official Iranian calendar.
Nowruz is celebrated across the Middle East, Central Asia, the Caucasus and beyond. Countries celebrating Nowruz include Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Albania.
Nowruz ushers in a celebratory period of two weeks, in which families clean their homes, visit relatives, and share festive meals and gifts.
Nowruz is also observed with cultural events and ceremonies, including street performances of music, poetry and dance. Families enjoy traditional foods, such as reshteh polow, a dish of toasted rice and noodles with lamb, dates and raisins.
The holiday is also frequently marked with sports competitions including wrestling and horse racing in Uzbekistan, and Kokboru (also a horse-mounted sport) in Kyrgyzstan. In Iran, families traditionally lay out a “haft-seen,” or a selection of seven symbolic items each beginning with the letter “s,” including fried fruit, sprouts or grasses, and spices, according to Vox.
Nowruz was recognized by the U.N. in 2009 as a tradition of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which “promotes values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families as well as reconciliation and neighborliness,” according to the U.N.
Happy Nowruz to all! Here are some Nowruz wishes from familiar faces:
Nowruz heralds the arrival of spring & is the harbinger of rebirth & hope. For millennia, Iranians have been relentless in striving for the cause of good: "Bring the Spring we must; banish the Winter we should." I wish all celebrating #Nowruz a happy, healthy & peaceful new year. pic.twitter.com/dibgCTbV32
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) March 20, 2018
Happy Nowruz! Wishing all those celebrating today a prosperous and healthy new year : https://t.co/3moDo1FP3L
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 20, 2018
This #Nowruz, in the spirit of hope and new beginnings, let us renew our faith in one another and commit ourselves to the ongoing fight for peace and justice in our communities and around the world. Eid-eh Shoma Mobarak. pic.twitter.com/UdqclJYpMa
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) March 20, 2018
Trudi and I want to wish everyone a happy #Nowruz! As you gather with friends and families to celebrate, I hope all of us can take time to take stock of our blessings and share our best wishes for the year ahead. Nowruz Mobarak! pic.twitter.com/bspC7Iwf1g
— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) March 20, 2018
I'm very happy to proclaim March 20th as Nowruz Day in BC!
To all those celebrating, may your days be bright and your #Nowruz be prosperous.
Norouzetan Pirouz! pic.twitter.com/1l7Fpajs71
— John Horgan (@jjhorgan) March 20, 2018
Nowruz is the beginning of a new year and a chance to be with family and friends. It is also a reminder of all that we have in common – and the richness of our diversity. I wish all a happy Nowruz!https://t.co/bbAlCLoE3a https://t.co/D0xSyS06Ne
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) March 20, 2018