Nowruz in the history (2) / The roots and origins
Tehran (KNA): We have had an exclusive interview with some western historians and professors of religious studies (Zoroastrianism) about the non-Persian roots of Nowruz and its influence on other civilization’s feasts.
Nowruz is the name of the Iranian New Year, also known as the Persian New Year, which is celebrated worldwide by the Iranians, along with some other ethno-linguistic groups, as the beginning of the New Year.
Many people in Iran and some other countries in the middle east celebrate 13 days of Farvardin(The first month of Persian calendar) as Nowruz celebration.
There are many questions about the Persian and non-Persian origins of Nowruz. One of the most important of these questions is this:
Has Nowruz (its celebration and tradition and costumes) rooted in other civilizations like Phoenician or Sumerian civilization or not, it is autonomous?
Professor Rose believes that we cannot be sure about the foreign origins of Nowruz.
Jenny Rose is an adjunct professor and historian of religions in the Zoroastrian Studies program in Claremont Graduate University’s Religion Department. She holds a doctorate in Ancient Iranian Studies from Columbia University.
“I’m not certain about Phoenician celebrations, but do know that the Sumerians and Babylonians had a springtime festival known as the Akitu, although the focus differed from one culture to the other.” Professor Rose said.
However, Professor Rose thinks that we can see some resemblance between Nowruz and other civilization’s ancient feasts. For example, she believes that Nowruz is alluded to in the Babylonian Talmud. She thinks that the name of Nowruz has been seen in the Jewish holy texts.
“The reference to a Persian festival of Nusardi in the Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud) and the identification of a similarly named festival in the Bavli (Babylonian Talmud) contains a form (nowsard ) that is distinct from “Nowruz”. This name is thought to derive from an Old Iranian phrase along the lines of *nawasarda meaning “New Year”.”
On the other hand, Professor Rose has found that we can see some connection between Nowruz and Armenians festivals:
“The Armenians transformed this festival, which they knew as the ancient “feast day of Armazd” (MP Ohrmazd), into one of the days commemorating St John the Baptist and St Athenogenes . In fact, many other holy days in the Armenian Christian calendar appear to have their origins in earlier Zoroastrian festivals.” Professor said.