Norouz is the main and largest holiday in Iran. It starts from March 19 (the national day of oil independence) to April 1st (the nature day).
Iran, as an Islamic country, has always been bewildered between its Iranian and Islamic identity. Depended on what government to take the power, one of its sides becomes bold. Islamic or traditional Iranian rituals, has been always a big question after Islamic Revolution.
We have many Islamic holidays such as the birthday of Prophet Mohammad or Qurban Eid. But we have some traditional Iranian holidays, too. The main three are: Yalda night (on December 20, which is considered the longest night of the year), Chahar-shanbe Souri (the last Tuesday of the year, in which we light fire in the streets and jump over it in order to put our sadness, hardships and sorrows in fire and welcome a new year full of happiness and pleasure), and Norouz which is exactly a holiday with all its idleness and rests. Here, is the part that all the Islamic and traditional Iranians embrace it happily, since everyone all over the world adores holidays!
Norouz customs are different from an ethnicity to another, but still there are some similarities.
In Norouz Eve, on March 19, we eat Sabzi polo (kind of herb with rice) and fish, and then we set haft-seen, means providing seven thing with its name starts with /s/ sound: mainly they are: sib (apple), senjed (Sea-buckthorn), sumac, sekkeh (coin), serkeh (vinegar), sabzeh (grass) and samanou, with Quran, mirror, goldfish and colored-egg.
Here, I should explain something. Norouz is not like Christmas, like you get up in the morning and it’s Christmas! Because it’s based on spring and the earth orbiting sun, we have a special hour, minutes an even second in which we start a new year. A new orbit, a new year! For example it can be in morning, evening, night or dawn! This year (1391, as we count) was on 8:44:27 A.M. such exact people, we are!
So, if the New Year starts in the morning, like this year, we get up earlier, sit around our Haft-seen and pray for a good new year till the special time passes. Then, hugs and kisses start! And elders give youths Eidy, mostly money. The best part!
After all these, the endless Marathon of visiting friends, relatives, neighbors and acquaintances starts! In these mostly two weeks we visit our long list of friends and all, wish each other a good new year, eat sweets, nuts, fruits and everything and after all go to another house! Finally, we put on weight and get huger and in the rest of the year try to lose weight! (jk)
One of my followers in G+ wrote:
“It’s like football, hold in two level. One match (of eating, of course!) in the friend/rival’s house and the other in your house!”
It’s been a fashion since around 10 years ago, that some people visit each others in the first week and in the second week they go to a trip or visa- versa. The trips are mostly inside Iran to Mashhad, North, Isfahan, Shiraz, and Kish. If they can afford an overseas trip they mostly go to Turkey, Dubai and Thailand.
And after this long time of doing exactly nothing, imagine how hard it can be to go back to work and school!