Persian New Year–the rebirth of nature

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It’s spring! In the high Sierra plants spring from the ground as soon as the snow leaves it.

The Persian culture celebrates the new year at the spring equinox, the beginning of spring. The name for this occasion is Nowrouz, which comes the root words for “new” and “day”–nature is being reborn after a long winter.

It is a joyous occasion, celebrated with parties. I attended one last Saturday, attended by over 100 people in a large church. The music piped over the PA system was full of life. We had musical and dance performances, a sumptuous dinner, then more free-style dancing by those who wanted to dance.

A central place at a Nowrouz celebration is a table containing seven symbolic items representing fire, eath, water, air, plants, animals and humanity. Among these, tender green sprouts of wheat, barley or lentil symbolize rebirth.

It’s fitting that the celebration of the new year celebrates the vibrancy and unquenchable life force which each of us share. American culture should have such a celebration!

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About David McCoard

After earning my MS in geology I've done various things including managing the ski touring program at a small lodge in the Sierra. In 2010 I retired from Contra Costa College in California. I've always been fascinated by the mountains and nature and have spent countless days hiking, backpacking, climbing and skiing in the Sierra. The spiritual insights I've learned there have set the course for my life. Now I have time to share them and strike up a conversation.
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