Nowruz, the Persian New Year is worldwide celebrated on March 20, 2017 and means “The New Day”. It takes place annually at the equinox in spring and so the exact date is varying. Nowruz is mostly celebrated in Iranian cultural regions, where pupils get a two week holiday to take part in this traditional family feast. People visit their friends and neighbors, exchanging small gifts and best wishes.
The most important Nowruz customs is the collection and consumption of the Haft-Seen, which means “seven seen's” in English, according to the seven pieces of decoration for the Persian tabletop called Sofreh. Each of them symbolizes a Zoroastrian virtue. Rebirth, affluence, love, health, beauty, sunrise and patience are the seven wishes for the New Year that starts on Nowruz Day.
A mirror for the metaphoric reflexion of the old year, a living fish in water as a symbol for the new life, colored eggs for fertility and a bouquet of hyacinths representing spring are also parts of the festive tabletop. Islamic families add their Koran, Christians their Bible and Zoroastrian people a picture of Zarathustra.
On Wednesday before Nowruz another custom called Chaharshanbe Suri takes place. People jump over small bonfires in the streets, leaving all paleness behind and receiving the flaming Red of the fire. It is common belief that all bad things are left with the fire, which likewise gives off its brilliance and vitality.
The exact moment of the breaking of the New Year is not fixed with a certain time, but celebrated at the equinox. Before that moment could be ascertained easily via internet, the Haji Firooz, an elderly man, painted black and wearing red, danced through the streets on Nowruz, announcing that moment loudly. Since 2009 there is also the International Nowruz Day by the UNESCO held annually on March 21.