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03/20/11

Photos: Tehran Welcomes Norouz

Photos by Babak Borozieh, Mehr News Agency

Persian New Year Norouz is the most festive time in Iran. To welcome the occasion, special decorations and Haftsin spreads have been setup in various parts of the capital city Tehran.

Norouz (Nowruz) in Persian means "New day". It is the beginning of the year for the peoples of Iran (Greater Iran, including: Afghanistan, Arran (Republic of Azerbaijan) and Central Asian Republics). It begins precisely with the beginning of spring on vernal equinox, on or about March 21. Tradition takes Norouz as far back as 15,000 years--before the last ice age.

A major part of the New Year rituals is setting a special table with seven specific items present, Haft Sin (Haft chin, seven crops before Islam). In the ancient times each of the items corresponded to one of the seven creations and the seven holly immortals protecting them (read more).

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