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Nowrūz ( title=”Persian language” href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persian_language”>Persian language: نوروز [noʊruːz]), meaning ‘New Day’) is the traditional Iranian new year (Persian) ceremony.
Nowruz is celebrated and observed by Iranian peoples and the related cultural continentand has spread in many other parts of the world, including Turkey, parts of Central Asia,South Asia, Northwestern China, the Crimea and some ethnic groups in Albania, Bosnia,Kosovo and the Republic of Macedonia. The only Hindu ethnic group that celebrates Nowruz is the Kashmiri Pandit community. During the meeting of The Inter-governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage of the United Nations, held between 28 September – 2 October 2009 in Abu Dhabi, Nowrūz was officially registered on the UNESCOList of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in Iranian calendar. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed. As well as being aZoroastrian holiday and having significance amongst the Zoroastrian ancestors of modern Iranians, the same time is celebrated in Indian sub-continent as the new year. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year and Iranian families gather together to observe the rituals.
Since the Achaemenid era the official year has begun with the New Day when the Sunleaves the zodiac of Pisces and enters the zodiacal sign of Aries, signifying the Spring Equinox. The Jewish festival of Purim is probably adopted from the Persian New Year. It is also a holy day for Ismailis, Alawites, Alevis, and adherents of the Bahá’í Faith.
The term Nowruz in written first appeared in Persian records in the second century AD, but it was also an important day during the time of the Achaemenids (c. 648-330 BC), where kings from different nations under the Persian empire used to bring gifts to the emperor (Shahanshah) of Persia on Nowruz.