The Museum is embarking on an exciting three-year project exploring Nowruz, the Persian New Year celebration of the spring equinox. Our goal is to develop a cultural festival and a Museum exhibition by co-creating these projects with individuals and organizations that celebrate Nowruz.
NOWRUZ AROUND THE WORLD CELEBRATION
Sunday, March 9, 2024
9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Discover the beautiful customs and traditions of Nowruz, the Persian New Year celebration. Join us as we welcome the first day of Spring, new beginnings, and the renewal of nature with this ancient holiday observed by more than 300 million people around the world. Enjoy traditional music and dance, learn about the Haft-sin table arrangement, and engage in hands-on art activities to honor the Spring Equinox that kicks off the ‘new day’ celebration.
This first-time event is a pilot program and part of a Museum-led three-year planning project to develop an exhibition and annual cultural event celebrating the holiday Nowruz.
Credits: Haft-Sin – Remy on Flickr, Chahar Shanbeh Suri – Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels, Sizdah Bedar – Kamyar Adl on Flickr
What is Nowruz?
Rejoicing in the arrival of spring, Nowruz, which translates into “New Day,” is now observed as a secular holiday around the world. Crossing cultures, religions, and nationalities, this ancient tradition marking the spring equinox lasts up to 13 days and has been around for three thousand years.
While the ways of celebrating vary around the world, there are some common practices: preparing for festive gatherings, visits with family and friends, and setting the Haft-Sin table with seven items each beginning with the Persian letter S, symbolizing renewal. Other customs include Chahar Shanbeh Suri, a ritual of jumping over fire to remove the negative aspects from the previous year and to look toward the future; and Sizdah Bedar, where on the 13th-day people leave their homes to commune in nature. The greenery from the Haft-Sin table is thrown into running water on this day.
While the region once known as Persia doesn’t exist today, the traditions of Nowruz are strong among people from its former lands including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, India, Pakistan, and Turkey. It’s also celebrated in the Persian diaspora worldwide including Europe, America, and Canada, among others.
We believe that certain values are universal across cultures – the importance of family, the challenge of holding onto traditions while also embracing life as Americans, and the hopes we all share for our children’s future. These common values spark connection and mutual understanding. We’re excited to immerse ourselves in Nowruz!
This program was made possible, in part, by a Cultural Affairs grant from the City of San Jose.
Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose is supported in part by an American Rescue Plan Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support general operating expenses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.