Zoroastrians throughout North America will mark the celebration of NoRuz (pron. nouˈɾuːz), Tuesday, March 21, 2017, the official turn of the Zoroastrian New Year and the Spring equinox in the Northern hemisphere.
For three thousand years of world history and for three hundred million people today, NoRuz unites regions and nationalities, religions and languages to share in the renewal of life on the first day of Spring. It has been celebrated for over 3,000 years in the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and other regions, beginning with its origins in Persia.
NoRuz, which means "New Day," heralds spring and the season of harvest, and it brings us messages of love, hope, happiness, joy, harmony and peace, no matter which country we live in, what religion we follow, our ethnicity/background or whether or not we are of Persian heritage.
On 23 February 2010, in its 64th session, the United Nations recognized 21 March as the International Day of NoRuz. UNESCO, on 30 September 2009, declared NoRuz "an intangible heritage of humanity." (UN resolution, the International Day [document A/64/L.30/Rev.2])
The beauty, meaning and symbolism of NoRuz can best be experienced by laying out the traditional Haft Sheen Table (photo above). The seven (Haft) items remind us of the seven attributes important in our faith tradition:
Originated in Zoroastrianism, NoRuz is a universal celebration for all of humanity; a gift which cuts across religious, national, ethnic boundaries with its message of peace, friendship and harmony.
Zoroastrians are followers of one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions founded by the prophet Zarathushtra approximately 3,755 years ago in ancient Iran. Zoroastrians have long-served as bridge builders in interfaith dialogue, believing in truth, righteousness, charity, beneficence, respect for the environment and the ultimate triumph of good over evil.
Image Credit Flickr User Remy (published with Creative Commons attribution): The Sofreh Haft Sin (the Table of the Seven "S"es) is a Nowruz (Persian New Year) tradition. Seven "S" words are represented in edible foods here to bring good luck for the New Year. Other "S" themed decorations and symbols also are used.