Nowruz (also spelled Newruz), one of the oldest festivals known to mankind, marks the arrival of spring and new year, and is celebrated in countries that use the Persian calendar, such as Iraq, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. It is celebrated on March 20 or one day before or after, depending on where in the world it is being celebrated, every year. The current Persian year is 1396.
Families celebrate the festival in different ways. They spend the weeks by cleaning their homes and doing repair work. This cleansing process is known in Farsi as khaneh takani (or "shaking the house"). However, nowadays celebrations take on a political edge, with many participants wearing PKK symbols at large gatherings in cities like Diyarbakır, the biggest city in Kurdish-dominated southeastern Turkey.
For many faiths, including Zoroastrians, this festival is regarded as a holy one. The festival is the most important event in the Iranian calendar. It is widely celebrated in different forms across the territories of the old Persian empire, including the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Middle East. It is spelled variously as Novruzit, Novruz, Nauruz, Navruzi, Navarōjha, Nawryz, Noruz, Nuruz, Nevruz and Navruz.
Food is another important aspect of the festival. A traditional Persian New Year celebration involves a huge table full of goodies that are culturally associated with the festival. In this gallery, IBTimes Singapore brings you a glimpse of the Persian New Year.