I can imagine a few people scratching their heads wondering how I could possibly think the new year started towards the end of the third month of our calendar. March 21st is celebrated as the New Year in many cultures. This day is known as Naw-Ruz or Nowruz. It is of Persian origin but it is now celebrated throughout the world but in particular it is celebrated in Central Asia, the Middle East, the Balkans the Caucasus and the area around the Black Sea. It is celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere and the autumnal equinox in the southern hemisphere. According to the United Nations Naw-Ruz has been celebrated for at least three thousand years.
Last year the United Nations declared 21st March as the ‘International Day of Nowruz’. This is acknowledgement of the significance of a celebration observed by around 300 million people and the enduring nature of a festival that the United Nations estimates has been celebrated for over 3,000 years. The UN Secretary-General said,
I hope countries and people around the world will draw on this festival’s history and customs to promote harmony with the natural world and foster global peace and goodwill.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Message on the International Day of Nowruz 2010
My forebears do not come from any region that traditionally celebrates Naw-Ruz. I celebrate it because it has been adopted by the Baha’i Faith to mark the beginning of the Baha’i year. Today is the start of the year 168 in the Baha’i calendar.
Happy New Year!