Nowruz, the Begining

Culture, Iran
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Nowruz, the Iranian celebration of renewal of nature with Haft Sin

Nowruz, How It All Began

Nowruz is the celebration of New Year in Iran. On this day, the Iranian calendar that is based on the solar movement advances one year. The most important and generally celebrated festivity of Nowruz is held on the first day of Farvardin, around March 20. Like any other celebration of the same magnitude and age, Nowruz is significant in history, mythology and culture. Here, we will first talk about Iranian chronometry and then talk about Nowruz, its tradition and customs today.

Iranian Chronometry

In ancient time, Iranian calendar had 12 months and each month had 30 days. The months as well as the days were named after a god/goddess and that god/goddess was the protector of that day. For the process of naming, then, they had a two-part and four-part division.  The two-part division divided the month to two 15-days. The first day was always named after the god of gods and creator of all Ahura Mazda while the second one was named after Mithra or Mehr. In the four-part division, however, the month had 2 7-days and 2 8-days part. The first part began with the name of Ahura Mazda, and the rest began with the name of Dey meaning the creator. To avoid confusion, they called the three Deys with the name of their following day.

For the seasons, they broke the mentioned 12 months down to six unequal parts following a myth that I will tell you all about now. In this myth, the whole creation took 12 thousand years; notice the repetition of number 12. For the first three thousand years, we had the invisible world of Ahura and Ahriman. The world of Ahura is pure and you can find all that is good there, while the world of Ahriman is evil and bad. In this three thousand years, the two world coexist together. In the second three thousand years, Ahura gets to put Ahriman to a sleep and in the absence of evil, he creates the sample form of sky, water, earth, plant, cattle, and human. The philosophy of the 6 seasons comes from this. A season for each creation, a celebration for each creation.

Iranian called these celebration Gahanbar and they were celebrated generally and with much passion. Here are these six celebrations.


The first Gahanbar, celebrating the creation of sky. It literary means the mid-spring celebrated from 11 to 15 of Ordibehesht, the second month of Iranian current calendar.

The second Gahanbar, celebrating the creation of water. It literary means the mid-summer celebrated from 11 to 15 Tir, the fourth month of Iranian current calendar.

The third Gahanbar, celebrating the creation of earth and celebrated in the last day of Shahrivar, the sixth month of Iranian current calendar.


The fourth Gahanbar, celebrating the creation of plants. It literary means return referring to the time that the shepherds return the herd back. It is celebrated at the beginning of winter.


The fifth Gahanbar, celebrating the creation of cattle. It literary mean mid-year.


The last Gahanbar, celebrating the creation of humans. It literary means gathering together. It was celebrated in the six last days of the leap year. The last day was the highlight of celebration and known as the Great Nowruz. It makes Nowruz, among other things, a celebration of creation of human.


The last day of the last the last month in usual years and the last day of the six days of the leap year became the celebration of human and the renewal of the year, and later the nature.  We will discuss it in a following post. Read more here.

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