Celebration of Navroz pre-dates most organized religions
Navroz, meaning ‘New Day’ marks the beginning of the Persian New Year. Over 2,500 years ago, the Prophet Zoroaster dedicated this ancient festival to spiritual renewal.
In Zoroastrianism, Navroz is the seventh feast marking the end of the six days of creation. On this day, fire was created and the world was given life. For the Zoroastrians, it is a festival of renewal. In preparation for New Year’s Day, seven kinds of seeds were sown beforehand, whose shoots come up green and fresh on the day of Navroz. The growing of barley was viewed as a particular blessing by the King of Persia. Navroz was a celebration observed by a people involved in agriculture and deeply connected to the land. During the Alamut period (1090-1256), Ismailis living in Alamut, in Iran, were farmers and hence prepared for harvest in the spring.
Unlike other religious festivals that remember an event or a person, Navroz focuses on nature and spirit; it is tied to the changing of the season and the renewal of the land. In the Holy Qur’an, God has entrusted man with two tasks: to be His servant, and to be the steward of His creation. Navroz is a time for spiritual renewal and a time to reflect on humankind’s responsibility towards God’s magnificent creation.
Mary Boyce, A Persian Stronghold of Zoroastrianism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977)