Navroze: Noruz: Nowroj: What’s in a name ??


March 21, 2006

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Culture | Events

On the occassion of Jamshedi Navroze, the Persian New Year, I received a very interesting email from a friend, Tamina Davar.

She writes about Navroze and what it means. And raises some very interesting points.

This email is published here with her permission. You can leave comments below and she will answer them for sure.

If you’d told me at age 6 that tens of millions of folks worldwide celebrated the holiday, I wouldn’t have believed you.

The internet’s spawned a growing awareness across the board that hey, other cultures actually celebrate this spring equinox holiday too.

Fewer groups are trying to claim ownership or force local leaders to declare it “Baha’i New Year,” “Afghan New Year,” or “Iranian New Year” (NYC led the way).

More groups are attempting the still-awkward, ever-growing laundry list of cultures, regions, religious groups who celebrate; often mentioning Zoroastrian roots. The media is getting savvier too. I’ve been working this year with journalists from many newspapers, providing information and resources.

But its important to celebrate differentness across cultures. “Nowruz” may be becoming the media standard spelling. Namak Magazine’s March Poll (namak means “salt” in several languages) features voting on 9 spellings of the holiday—just for the Iranian pronunciation! But I grew up calling it Nowroj (with a j), and I’m sticking to it, just to prove that diversity is cool.

Oh, and if you think that Parsi Zoroastrians are the only folks who celebrate on the 21st— not true. I’ve personally met (don’t know if its true across the board, but who cares) folks of Kurdish, Ismaili, Baha’i, and Afghan background who do too.

This essay by Kayhan Irani, from 2004 (which I had the privilege of editing) still holds true today.


Nowroj Mubarak, or whatever it is you say.

Have a good one,


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