Nowruz – A Manifestation of Iranian Culture

Nowruz – A Manifestation of Iranian Culture

Fereydoun Majlessi (source: Fereydoun Majlessi)

A miracle no politics and swords can perform

Fereydoun Majlessi

Nowruz is not a tradition! It is culture! Nowruz is drawing and painting. It is Art! Nowruz is music, freshness, youth, love, and friendship. Nowruz symbolizes the victory of good over evil. It is the vernal equinox. It is setting aside rancor and enriching friendships and relationships. Nowruz is spring cleaning and removing impurities and pollutions from one’s nest and self. Nowruz is a time for freshness, happiness, and smiles. Nowruz is higher than tradition and customs. The Buddhists impose much pain and agony on themselves by crawling a long and laborious way up to their places of worship so that their vows might be fulfilled! The Hindus spend their annual savings for a trip to Benares, to bathe in the muddy waters of the Ganges where they pour the ashes and leftovers of their dead, in the hope of cleansing their soul and reaching peace! These are traditions remaining from the past; from the times when the wisdom and knowledge of mankind was less and the extent of his delusions widespread. Suffering was a price to be paid in exchange for achieving their wishes! As if the merciful God accepts only pain and suffering to be satisfied!

Nowruz is not so! It does not involve this sort of transaction! It neither impregnates the barren, nor does it promise paradise to the wretched. It never imposes pain and agony in anticipation of false hopes! Prevailing traditions are criticized for dominating the present pretenders to wisdom and knowledge with the past convictions of our antecedents, together with all its clichés, rituals, and hardships. But Nowruz is like music and other forms of art. It is like a book and a report on the virtues and wisdoms of the ancients rather than a reflection of challenges and indignations. There is no pain and loss in its workings. The symbolic and decorative Haft Sin table of Nowruz contains no other messages but happiness, hope, and jubilation.

As it has been said: “The realm of true Iranian culture spreads as far and wide as Nowruz is being honored.” Iran symbolizes a cultural spectrum which transcends political boundaries. Throughout history, there have been countless times when different Iranian and non-Iranian rulers have governed over one corner or other of cultural Iran at one and the same time; but the peoples they ruled over were Iranians, whether they were Turks, Turanians, Arabs, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Sistanis, Persians, Gilacs, Kurds or Kirmanis! It is a culture that makes “Sultan Mohammad Khoda Bandeh” (a very sympathetic Iranian name for a King) out of Nikolay Uljaytu – the grandson of Hulagu Khan and the great grandson of Genghis Khan (the mention of whose names sends shivers down one’s spine), with his great legacy of the glorious Sultanieh Dome situated not far from Tehran. The elixir of this metamorphosis and transformation, the nursing of such gentleness from that violence, growing such a flower in that marshland, this is the miracle that no politics and swords can perform. This can only be the harvest of an old, rich, delicate, vast, and effective culture, namely the Iranian culture, and Nowruz is its harmless and courageous expression.

If the hundreds of millions of residents of this cultural realm from the west of China to the east of Europe wish to make Nowruz an International symbol, it is only because they want a celebration that simply bestows purity, friendship, flexibility, cooperation, rapprochement, moderation, equilibrium, beauty, and goodness, without conflicting with any religion or ideology, to be an international and world event! May people around the world respect it, so that they can honor love, compassion, friendship, and reconciliation?

Photo: The Haft Sin table for Nowruz (source: Pixabay, CC0)

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One thought on “Nowruz – A Manifestation of Iranian Culture

  1. What a beautiful and insightful article! I completely agree with your perspective on Nowruz being more than just a tradition and encompassing culture, art, and positivity. My question for you is, how do you think we can better promote and share the beauty of Nowruz with the world to foster more understanding, cooperation, and celebration of diversity? Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic.

    Yoy Edib


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