Happy Norooz!

Norooz, meaning “new day,” is a new year celebration beginning at the exact moment the spring equinox arrives. It is pronounced “no-ruse” and has been spelled in various ways after being translated, such as Nowruz, Norouz, and Nauruz. It is a 3,000-year-old celebration from the Persian diaspora that celebrates the arrival of spring as victory over darkness. The spring equinox is also the first day of the year in Iran, whose calendar begins with the spring equinox.

Norooz is one of the most important holidays in Iran and is celebrated as an official holiday in other countries like Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia’s Bayan-Ölgii province, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It is also celebrated in places like Turkey, India and other places with Persian enclaves such as Europe, Australia, the U.S. and our own Palo Alto!

Celebrate With Us

Celebrate the arrival of spring and welcome a new year with new beginnings this Norooz! Join Palo Alto City Library for a fun-filled Norooz event, opens a new window on Saturday, March 11 from 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Celebration Activities Include:

  • Live Traditional Dance Performances by Shadan Dance Group, opens a new window
  • Norooz Musical Performance by Mo Ebrahimi
  • Arts, Crafts & Storytime for children in the garden; ideal for children ages 3 -11 and their families, but all are welcome.

Indoor/Outdoor Event. Parking at the Art Center and Rinconada Library is available on a first-come first-served basis.

For more information, contact Valeh Dabiri Alaee, opens a new window, Supervising Librarian, Mitchell Park Library.

Books about Norooz, Springtime, and Persian Culture

Prepare Your Home

Days before Norooz, families will often give their homes a thorough cleaning, as doing so gets rid of the negative energy that has built up over the previous year. This is called khaneh-takooni, or “shaking the house.” Check out some great books on Cleaning and Getting Organized, opens a new window

Places to Donate Items You No Longer Need

Prepare Yourself

After preparing the home, cleaning, and getting rid of negative energy, many will take part in a fire-jumping ritual that has survived thousands of years to rid the individual of negative energy as well. Chaharshanbe Suri, or “Scarlet Wednesday,” is an auspicious day, recognized on the Wednesday before Norooz, and commences with firecrackers, sparklers, and small bonfires over which many jump. Jumping over this fire is symbolic of exchanging any negativity and sickness from you, in exchange for the fire’s positive energy and warm glow.

Families buy new clothes to wear for the new year and set up their Haft-Seen , or Sevens S’s table. This holiday spread is set to symbolize hopes for the new year, and include:

  • sabzeh: lentil and/or wheat sprouts, symbolizing growth and rebirth
  • seeb: apple, symbolizing beauty and health
  • senjed: oleaster, symbolizing love
  • samanu: wheat germ pudding, symbolizing affluence
  • somâgh: sumac, symbolizing the color of sunrise
  • seer: garlic, symbolizing medicine
  • serkeh: vinegar, symbolizing age and patience

The City of San Francisco will display the Haft-seen at San Francisco City Hall, opens a new window with tea, bastani, pastries and art on March 24, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Take a tour of a Haft-Seen table, opens a new window, put together by library staff member, Maryam!

Children receive a special gift of money, presented to them by their elders, or hidden in a cherished book. Traditionally, people will spend the first twelve days of Norooz visiting family and friends. The 13th day of Norooz is called sizdeh bedar, or getting rid of 13. It is considered bad luck to stay indoors on the 13th day of the new year so many will spend the day outdoors, barbequing, or having a picnic in the park.


Find lots of great Norooz crafts and activities you can do at home on our Norooz New Year board, opens a new window on Pinterest.

Watch our craft video to learn how to make beautiful egg decorations, opens a new window, to put on your own Norooz New Year table!

And Don’t Forget...

If you create anything at home please share your creations with us on Instagram and tag @PaloAltoLibrary! Follow us, opens a new window on all of our social media platforms for more information and inspiration!

Palo Alto City Library wishes everyone a safe and Happy Norooz New Year!

Written by Melody Tehrani, Senior Librarian, Mitchell Park Library.