By Christina Maxouris and Artemis Moshtaghian, CNN • Updated 20th March 2021
(CNN) — For millions of people across the globe, Nowruz is no small celebration. Think Christmas, New Year’s and Fourth of July combined — and add to it fire festivities, delicious meats, rice and spices, family gatherings, street dances and loud banging on pots.
But it’s much more than that, too. Nowruz “promotes values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families,” the United Nations says. It’s a time of reconciliation and neighborliness, “contributing to cultural diversity and friendship among peoples and different communities.”And we could all use some of that, no matter what it’s called.
What is it?
Nowruz is the Persian New Year. But you don’t have to be Persian to celebrate. Also known as Nauryz, Navruz or Nowrouz, it means “new day.”
The new year will ring in on Saturday, March 20.It’s no coincidence it falls on the first day of spring. The Iranian calendar is a solar calendar, meaning time is determined, through astronomical observations, by Earth’s movement around the sun. So, the first day of the year always kicks off with the natural phenomenon of the vernal equinox.