Washington, DC- March 18, 2016, On the occasion of the Iranian New Year, Nowruz, the U.S. representative office of Iran’s parliament-in-exile, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI-US) held a reception celebrating this ancient Iranian tradition.
Among the speakers were Ambassador Robert G. Joseph, former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Philip J. Crowley, former Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield, Jr., former Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs, Ambassador Adam Ereli, former U.S. ambassador to Bahrain, and Bruce McColm, former Executive Director of the Freedom House.
Ambassador Bloomfield praised the NCRI, saying, “I am an admirer of the National Council of Resistance. They are extraordinarily competent and well organized and their message is a very generous message.” He added that the NCRI “has recognized gender equality that is fully consistent with religious faith and I think this is an extremely powerful message.”
Ambassador Joseph said, “Thank you for the sacrifices, in many cases the ultimate sacrifices that you, your friends, your family members have made in the cause of freedom; in the cause of a free Iran; in the cause of a democratic, secular, non-nuclear Iran. You are the models.”
Mr. Crowley pointed to the Iranian dissidents residing in Camp Liberty in Iraq and said, “We certainly continue to hope for the day where those in Camp Liberty are removed from danger and can get on with their lives and help inspire us as they do even now.”
Ambassador Ereli said, Tehran is a regime “that despite it signing international agreements still is forging ahead with a nuclear program.” Talking about the residents of Camp Liberty, Mr. McColm said, “I just want to say about the people at Camp Liberty, they are my heroes. Their persistence, integrity, resistance, and endurance is really tremendously inspiring to all of us.”
A haftsin table was set up and “uncle Nowruz” (Amoo Nowruz) was also present greeting the guests and gifting them with Persian nuts and pastry.
The Persian New Year occurs around March 20 and means a new day. The celebration dates back to 3,000 years ago in Ancient Persia, modern day Iran. The New Year is centered around the concepts of reverence for nature, respect for family and community, doing good deeds, and forgiveness.
Families may gather together to celebrate the New Year right at its occurrence. These festivities can include taking pictures, eating dried nuts, and other Persian delicacies.
Amu Nowruz, or Uncle New Year, is a Persian folk character who is associated with the Persian New Year, Nowruz. Uncle Nowruz is often portrayed as an elderly man with silvered hair and a long beard. He carries a sack containing gifts, comparable to Santa Claus. As a portrayal of peace and giving, Uncle Nowruz walks around to spread peace and giving during the time of the Persian New Year.
Haft Seen Table
The Haft Seen Table is a tradition that comes with the New Year. The special table includes seven symbols that represent life, all starting with the letter “s.” To name a few, sabzeh (wheat sprouts) represents rebirth, sib (apple) represents beauty or health, and serkeh (Vinegar) represents patience.
Getting rid of the 13th
For the 12 days following Nowruz, celebrations and family visitations will often take place. In response, many businesses and schools will close for the time being. On the 13th day of spring, families will often go into nature and have picnics in order to rid the bad luck that is associated with the number 13, this is called Sizdah Bedar,“Getting rid of the 13th.”
Throw away sabzeh
At the end of celebrations, the sabzeh that was grown for the Haft Seen is thrown away to complete the final cleanse of sickness and bad luck.