Iranian Americans Celebrate Persian New Year

March 17, 2006


On March 17, 2006 reported, "Some 2 million Iranian Americans – and other immigrants from neighboring countries that were once part of the Persian Empire – are celebrating Nowruz, the Persian New Year, on March 20 with rituals that go back thousands of years. The rituals find their symbolic roots in Zoroastrianism and its dualistic struggle between the forces of good and evil, but with the advent of Islam 14 centuries ago, many of the traditions were modified. A few days before the New Year, Persians observe a Zoroastrian festival known as Chahar Shanbeh Suri. The evening’s rituals include a symbolic purification by fire in which people jump over bonfires to rid themselves of illness and misfortune. The New Year celebration then begins with the spring equinox, and the Nowruz festivities continue for 13 days. Iranian community and student groups throughout the Untied States observe the traditional Persian holidays... Nowruz ceremonies have become more diverse through the years, particularly as the traditions have spread through Afghan, Tajik, Uzbek, Azerbaijani, Kurdish and Parsee cultures, but all of those who observe the celebration today carry forward a timeless expression of ancient Persian culture."