Bahai New Year
Bahai New Year occurs on the date of vernal equinox. It is usually celebrated on 21st March every year. Bahai people have their own nine months calendar of nineteen days. Naw Ruz is also called ‘The Day of God’ , ‘Yawmu’llah’ or ‘the Day of the Point’. This day begins at the sunset rather than midnight. So, New Year celebrations also began on the evening of March 20th. This festival is most popularly celebrated by the Iranians and Zoroastrian community.
Naw-Ruz falls in the month of Bahá. It is also associated with, ‘Him Whom God shall make manifest, the Promised One of the Bab’. The remaining 18 days of the month are associated with eighteen Letters of the Living. This indicated that the Bab wanted Naw Ruz festivities to encompass the nineteen days of the month of Baha.
Naw-Ruz is a feast day as it follows the tradition of strict fasting.
Naw Ruz Traditions
A week before the new Year, lentils are placed in a dish to sprout. Bahais consider Naw Ruz as a day of gift-giving and do not observe this day longer than one period. Avery popular tradition of Naw Ruz is the haft-sin i.e. the seven S’s. This symbolize seven Persian objects properly arranged on the table which are :
sonbol – hyacinths
sib – apples
sîr – garlic
serkeh – vinegar
sekkeh – coins
sabzeh – wheat, barley or lentil sprouts
samanu – a sweet pudding made from wheat germ
senjed – the dried fruit of the oleaster tree
somaq – sumac berries
Naw Ruz Celebrations
Naw Ruz is celebrated with great enthusiasm and mirth by the Bahais. People dress up in new clothes. People meet their relatives and friends and exchange New Year gift and greetings with each other. People end Naw Ruz celebrations by enjoying the day out with the family members. People also throw their sprouted lentils in the running river water. It is supposed to carry away all the bad luck with it.
The dining table is decorated with symbolic food items like fruits, colored eggs, cakes, a holy book and a mirror. People eat special Naw Ruz dishes like Sabzi Polo Mahi which is rice with green herbs served with fish, Reshteh Polo (rice cooked with noodles) and Dolme Barg (meat cooked with cotyledon and some vegetablesin vine leaf). The special Naw Ruz food is symbolic in some or other way. It helps to bring happiness and success in one’s life.