People of Zabol in Sistan va Baluchistan province start the celebration of the New Year from the last five days of the year. Panjak traditional ceremony is held in Khajeh Mountain during these days.
“From the ancient times every 12 months had 30 days throughout the year in Sistan va Baluchistan province. Therefore, 5 extra days remained at the end of the year. People of city of Zabul hold some special ceremony named Panjak in Khajeh Mountain during these days. In the past, the ceremony was celebrated extensively, including stoning and lighting fire; however, today it is only celebrated with joy and sword dancing. This ceremony is held with the blowing of the first spring breeze,” said Mohammad Ali Ebrahimi, anthropology expert of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Sistan va Baluchistan province.
People of this province plant wheat or barley next to the entrance doors of their houses. They believe that it will bring them bounty and happiness throughout the year by looking at the green wheat before entering their homes.
About other ceremonies of the people of Sistan va Baluchistan, Ebrahimi explained: “the people of Sistan believe in Bibi Hoor instead of Amou Norouz (reminiscent of Santa Clause in the western world) and if it is raining during the last 5 days of the year, they say that she is washing her hair. The people of Sistan celebrate the start of the New Year with folk music and songs. They also bake some special cookies and confections for Norouz. They distributed Cholbak cookie among the poor people in the cities’ cemetery at the last Thursday of the year.”
According to Ebrahimi, Norouz ceremonies in Sistan va Baluchistan is inspired by Zoroastrians ceremonies, such as lighting fire at the last Thursday night of the year which has been substituted by firing oilcloths. They believe that Khajeh Mountain was the place of appearing Saoshyant, which refers to someone who will make the existence brilliant in the Zoroastrian religion. The term literally means one who brings benefit.
Sistan va Baluchistan province is located southeast of Iran, bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan. City of Zahedan is the capital of this province. The province consists of two sections, Sistan in the north and Baluchistan in the south which has combined to Sistan va (and) Baluchistan.
In the south and west of Sistan and Baluchistan, the people are mostly Baluchi and speak the Baluchi language. The inhabitants of the province of Sistan va Baluchistan continue to maintain their own norms and traditions, which grants the region the potential to become on of the sight-seeing areas of Iran. One of the interesting places to visit in Zahedan and Zabol cities are their bazaars with vendors spread out their objects everywhere. You can find different kinds of spices and beautiful handicrafts such as colorful needlework tablecloths and cushions.
The history of Sistan va Baluchistan Province goes back to more than 5000 years ago, the traces of which can be found in Burnt City, which is one of the most important prehistoric sites in Iran that enjoyed a rich civilization some 5000 years ago. The most ancient backgammon and many other magnificent evidence were found in this area during the archeological excavations.
Chabahar Port is another tourism destination of Sistan va Baluchistan province. Chabahar Free Zone is one the coastal areas of the Sea of Oman and the closest and best access point of Iran to Indian Ocean.
Norouz, the Persian New Year, is celebrated by all the major cultures of ancient Mesopotamia. What we have today as Norouz with its unique Iranian characteristics has been celebrated for at least 3000 years and is deeply rooted in the traditions of Zoroastrian belief system. Norouz is celebrated with the beginning of spring in Iran and many other regional countries such as Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, etc.
One of the traditions of Norouz is Amou Norouz or Haji Firuz (Uncle New Year, similar to Santa Claus) who kicks out the winter cold and brings life to nature and warmth to every household. Haji Firouz wears colorful (mostly red cloths) and blacken their faces with coal and sing and dance in the public places at the first day of Norouz.