Zachary Fouladian, Staff Writer
With March coming to a close, there is still another New Years’ celebration to have at Beverly. The Persian New Year, known as Aide/Eid or Nowruz/Noroz/Norouz/or Norooz, is a celebration that has existed for over 2000 years. The actual moment the celebration begins is the spring solstice, usually around the end of March.
Because the spring solstice changes every year, the actual date varies, but each Aide is exactly 365 days, four hours, and some-odd minutes from the last. The precision of the New Year came through the efforts of Omar Khayyam, an 11th century poet, mathematician, and astronomer, who actually calculated the time from one solstice to another and created a solar calendar with his calculations, preserving the New Year on a date that varies on our standard calendar.
A traditional celebration includes a major “spring cleaning,” new clothes or furniture, and crisp new bills of money. Personal visits are also a must, with cards pushed aside in favor of face to face smiles. As “Nowruz” translates to “New Day,” the freshening spirit of the occasion is appropriate.
The celebrations span two weeks, with a special night known as Chahar Shanbe Suri, where those who enjoy the festivities light and jump over a fire, to symbolize cleansing all the bad that has happened in the past year.
There is another observed tradition during Aide is the Haftseen, or “Seven S’s,” which are the seven objects that all start with an “S” sound (at least in Persian) that are gathered for the occasion, and each one has a meaning. For example, the seeb, or apple, is for health and beauty, and the sabzeh, a wheat or lentil grass, symbolizes rebirth and renewal. All seven objects are kept on a table for the duration of the celebrations.
At Beverly, though, tradition is put aside, and a relaxing break from school for the holiday and staff development is all the students are celebrating. Junior Arya Boudaie is one of the many who don’t keep tradition and just take a break.
“The point is just to have fun celebrating the New Year,” he says. “I’ll just go to my resident grandmother’s house, and all of our local cousins can just spend the night together. Other times we’ll just stay at home, watching Babak’s First Norooz, or just enjoying the day off from school.”
But the holiday still holds significance for Boudaie. “It’s different from most holidays, because this holiday is one that lets me stay in touch with my Persian heritage. There’s 4th of July for me to remember how lucky I am to be in this country, countless Jewish holidays that help me remember that heritage, but Norooz helps me remember my ancestors in Iran, and the beautiful culture that they’ve passed down to my generation.”
Junior Ramtin Mobasheri, though, celebrates by following the customs of the holiday. He did the fire-jumping and the haftseen, but still celebrated with a quiet evening at home.
“It’s part of our culture, we take it more seriously than, say, Halloween, because it’s what we’ve grown up with, and it’s a day to be with each other. Family’s the most important part of it.” Mobasheri said, showing that even tradition can make way for time with the family.
So on this four-day monster of a weekend, remember that there is an entire culture rejoicing and reveling in a new start, a new beginning, and a new year.
Aide eh shoma mubarak! Have a good New Year!