Iranians are preparing to celebrate the upcoming Persian New Year Norouz which starts on Sunday March 20. It is a tradition to put a couple of goldfish in a bowl of water on the `Haftsin' tablecloth that is stretched on the occasion of the new year. These photos by Hojattollah Ataei show the hot market for goldfish in the city of Qom in centrail Iran.
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).
Happy New Iranian Year
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