Religion

North American Zoroastrians usher in Nowruz — a New Day — the official start of the vernal equinox

Celebrated by millions around the world, Nowruz symbolizes renewal, rejuvenation, and the onset of spring in the northern hemisphere

BURR RIDGE, Ill. — FEZANA, the Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America, today announced Zoroastrians throughout North America will celebrate Nowruz at the official start of the Vernal equinox, Tuesday, March 19, 2024. Translating to ‘New Day’ Nowruz is today revered and celebrated by diverse populations, religions and communities of people around the world, and rooted in the Zoroastrian faith.

Each year, Nowruz unites Zoroastrians and all who celebrate this revered and auspicious day, featuring gatherings with loved ones, communal celebrations and prayers for peace. FEZANA’s youth wing, the Zoroastrian Youth of North America (ZYNA) will hold a Nowruz (virtual) concert and host a virtual countdown to Nowruz the evening of March 19, featuring performances by talented Zoroastrian musicians and vocalists across North America. Other activities include: community prayers and celebrations at FEZANA member associations and small groups across Canada and the United States, museum exhibits, tree plantings and family gatherings.

“In an increasingly complex and complicated world, Nowruz unites and offers people of many faiths, or no faith at all, the opportunity to embrace the promise of a new day, a new year, and the renewal of Spring,” said FEZANA President Arzan Sam Wadia. “In North America, Nowruz starts at home for most Zoroastrians around beautifully decorated Haft Seen tables, and extends to larger communal gatherings with food, drink and music with friends and loved ones. We wish all our friends and followers a joyous Nowruz on behalf of our member associations and all North American Zoroastrians.”

“On behalf of our Mobeds (Zoroastrian clergy) across Canada and the United States, we wish the world a joyous and peaceful Nowruz,” said Ervad Tehemton Mirza, President of the North American Mobeds Council. “May Ahura Mazda guide us toward the path of Asha (righteousness), and make us sensitive to the plight of our citizens and their human rights. May peace and harmony prevail on Earth.” 

On March 9, FEZANA and the Zoroastrian Association of Metropolitan Chicago joined forces with the University of Chicago’s Institute for the Study of Ancient Cultures to host an annual Persian Nowruz Celebration, featuring a traditional haft seen table against the backdrop of the Museum’s dynamic Persian exhibits, children’s egg painting, traditional snacks and the airing of Persepolis Recreated, a 2004 historic documentary chronicling Persepolis’s central role at the height of the Persian Empire.

In late 2021, FEZANA launched the first-ever Zoroastrian Global Glossary, a legacy project providing global Zoroastrian communities, researchers, religious education teachers and the broader public access to a dynamic portal that provides uniformity for spellings and definitions of Zoroastrian terms, like Nowruz and Haft Seen, in English.

Zoroastrians are followers of one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions founded by the prophet Zarathushtra more than 3,000 years ago in ancient Iran. Zoroastrians have long served as bridge builders in interfaith dialogue, believing in truth, righteousness, charity, beneficence, respect and care for the environment, and the triumph of good over evil. Zoroastrianism flourished as the imperial religion of three Persian empires, those of the Achaemenians, Parthians and Sassanians, and was the dominant religion from Turkey and eastward to China during those times. North America’s Zoroastrian community includes those who arrived from the Indian subcontinent, known as Parsis, and those who came directly from Iran seeking religious freedom.

About FEZANA
Founded in 1987, the Federation of Zoroastrian Associations of North America (FEZANA) represents a diverse and growing Zarathushti community in the western diaspora. Guided by the blessings of Ahura Mazda and the teachings of prophet Zarathushtra, the non-profit federation serves as the coordinating body for 27 Zoroastrian associations and 14 corresponding groups in Canada and the United States. The activities of FEZANA are conducted in a spirit of mutual respect, cooperation and unity among all member associations, and with due regard for the Zarathushti principles of goodness, truth, reason, benevolence, implicit trust and charity toward all mankind. Visit www.fezana.org and follow FEZANA on Instagram, X (Twitter) and Facebook @TheFEZANA, and on LinkedIn .

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Contact:
Jim Engineer
FEZANA
630/728-1387
[email protected]

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.


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