[ nou-rooz ]
/ naʊˈruz /
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the Persian New Year's Day.
Zoroastrianism. the seventh feast of obligation, devoted to fire, the seventh creation.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is Nowruz?

Nowruz is a New Year celebration that coincides with the vernal equinox.

Nowruz originated as a Zoroastrian observance, but it is celebrated as a holy day in multiple faiths, including by some Muslims. It is also commonly celebrated in secular ways. It is sometimes called Persian New Year or Iranian New Year.

Nowruz is most closely associated with Persian and Iranian culture, but it is also observed in many other places in Central Asia, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria—and by members of these communities around the world.

Like many New Year celebrations, Nowruz focuses on renewal. Many people prepare for Nowruz by cleaning their homes for spring. One of the traditional ways to observe Nowruz involves setting up a spread of items known as a sofreh or haft-seen, in which the items represent the hopes for the year ahead.

When is Nowruz?

Nowruz coincides with the vernal equinox, which means the date shifts from year to year (from March 19 to March 21).

In 2023, Nowruz starts on March 21 and ends on March 22. In 2024, it will fall on March 21–22. However, Nowruz celebrations often last for 13 days.

The United Nations has declared March 21 as International Nowruz Day, even though Nowruz doesn’t always fall on that date.

More information and context on Nowruz

Nowruz originated in the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism and has been celebrated for thousands of years. Its name comes from Persian and translates as “New Day.”

Nowruz is widely observed by setting up a sofreh or haft-seen (which means “seven S’s”), an arrangement of (often seven) symbolic items (traditionally ones whose names begin with the letter S) that serves as a centerpiece of the celebration.

Other traditions, including special dishes made for the occasion, vary from place to place and among different groups. In several Central Asian countries, part of celebrating Nowruz involves making a wheatgrass pudding known as sumalak.

Observance of Nowruz also often involves an element of fire, which is an important symbol in Zoroastrianism and is the basis for some celebratory rituals, including festivals in which people jump over fires as a form of renewal.

What are some terms that often get used in discussing Nowruz?

How is Nowruz discussed in real life?

Nowruz is closely associated with Persian culture, but it is celebrated in many places by members of multiple faiths and cultures, including, commonly, in secular ways.



Try using Nowruz!

True or False? 

The name Nowruz translates to “New Day.”

How to use Nowruz in a sentence