Noruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in Persian 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 a Zoroastrian holiday and having significance amongst the Zoroastrian ancestors of modern Iranians, the same time is celebrated in the 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.
To commemorate Noruz means to respect the origins, history, values and characteristics of past civilizations. To celebrate Noruz also means to promote life in harmony with nature and inseparable link with natural cycles of renewal, solicitous and respectful attitude towards natural sources of life.
During the Noruz holiday’s people are expected to pay house visits to one another in the form of short house visits and the other side will also pay you a visit during the holidays before the 13th day of the spring.
Typically, on the first day of Noruz, family members gather around the table, with the Haft Seen on the table or set next to it, and await the exact moment of the arrival of the spring. At that time gifts are exchanged. This is a time for visiting relatives and friends where pastry, cookies, fresh and dried fruits and special nuts are served along with tea or syrup.
During the holiday season of Noruz some opt to travel overseas and over the years Sri Lanka has become a popular destination for such travelers. Heritance Ahungalla a 5 star beach resort and Earls Regency a 5 Star hotel situated in the Hill Capitol of Kandy are both popular choices for Iranian travelers. The hotel management and staff are well aware of the ceremonies and customs associated with the Noruz festival thus they ensure that the guests do not miss out of any of the Noruz festivities while they are away from their homeland.
Some Noruz celebrants believe that whatever a person does on Noruz will affect the rest of the year. So, if a person is warm and kind to their relatives, friends and neighbors on Noruz, then the New Year will be a good one. Sri Lanka in my opinion would be the perfect destination to celebrate the Noruz Festival surrounded by smiling, caring faces that Sri Lankan people are renowned the world over for!