The staff and management of the 6th International Green Film Festival (IIGFF6) wish all Iranians and other nations that celebrate Norouz worldwide a very Happy New Year.
Norouz, literally the “New Day”, marks both the beginning of a new year and the beginning of spring for Iranian families and others across the world.
Norouz is celebrated by more than 300 million people worldwide on the day of the spring Equinox, which marks the sun’s crossing of the Equator and the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
It has its origins in ancient Iran and Zoroastrianism, the ancient pre-Islamic religion but Iranians gave it an Islamic color after they converted to Islam.
Norouz is as one of the oldest and most cherished festivities celebrated for at least 3,000 years.
On the first day of the Persian New Year, family members usually gather around the Nowruz (Haft-Seen) table, and await the exact moment of the arrival of the spring.
The Haft-Seen table contains seven items whose names begin with a letter in the Persian alphabet which is equivalent to “S” in English. It usually includes Seeb (apple), Sabze (green grass), Serke (vinegar), Samanoo (a delicacy made from sprouted wheat), Senjed (the dried fruit of the oleaster tree), Sekke (coins), and Seer (garlic).
After the turn of the year, the first few days are spent visiting elders of the family, relatives and friends, with children receiving presents.
Sizdah-bedar is the last day of the New Year holidays. On the following day, routine life resumes; schools and offices open after almost a fortnight and life heads back to normalcy. The occasion has no religious significance and is celebrated by all.
In addition to Iran, Sizdah Bedar is also among the festivals celebrated in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, India, and many other parts of the world.
Games using horse are often chosen since this animal also represents rain. Adults and older people may play the traditional game of backgammon.
During the picnic day of Sizdah Bedar, some people also follow the oldest prank-tradition in the world and play jokes on each other. This has possibly led many men and women to consider that the origin of the April Fools’ Day goes back to the Iranian tradition of Sizdah-bedar.