Welcome the New Year with Nowruz

Welcome the New Year with Nowruz

Nowruz celebrates the coming of spring and the Persian/Iranian new year in various groups, but especially in Iran, Afghanistan, Kurdish Turkey and Iraq, and Indian Parsi communities. It used to be a religious festival, and still is for 120,000 Zoroastrians around the world, but for the most part today celebrating Nowruz is a secular expression of culture.

People prepare to celebrate the new year by spring cleaning their homes from top to bottom and going out to buy a new outfit, as well as flowers like hyacinth and tulips. They will also prepare a Haft-Sin table – a ceremonial display of symbolic objects.

During the Nowruz period people make visits to their family, friends and neighbours, usually beginning with young people visiting their elders. A lot of Iranians enjoy large Nowruz parties, too.

The dishes people eat at the new year are varied due to the multiple different cultures that celebrate, but one of the most common is Samanu, a wheatgrass porridge or pudding. In some countries preparing it is a communal affair, with women and girls cooking in groups and singing together.


The Haft-Sin table is a ceremonial arrangement of seven (and occasionally more) items that is traditionally displayed by Iranian families during Nowruz. The Haft-Sin table celebrates nature with a collection of often edible items that begin with the Persian letter ‘sin (س)’. A traditional table contains sprouting wheat (or barley, mung bean or lentils), Samanu (wheatgrass pudding), wild olives/a wild olive branch, vinegar, apples, garlic, and sumac. Sometimes coins, a clock, and hyacinths are included too, as well as a book of wisdom or holy book.

Iranian families put a lot of work into creating a beautiful Haft-Sin table, as they get to show it off when they welcome their Nowruz visitors.


There are an estimated 85,000 people of Iranian origin living in the UK. Along with the 50,000 Kurds and 79,000 Afghans, that’s a lot of people in Britain that might be celebrating Nowruz this month! It can be difficult for families to find everything they need to put their Nowruz table together in the UK, so they usually have to go to speciality shops or order online.

Local areas, communities and groups also put on Nowruz events every year, which are beginning to be held again to celebrate Nowruz 2022.