WEST BRATTLEBORO -- The Festival of No Ruz/Nowruz/Nauryz, (Persian for New Day) will be celebrated on Sunday, March 24, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Asian Cultural Center of Vermont, 814 Western Ave., West Brattleboro. All are invited to attend this ancient holiday that has been observed for thousand of years by the ancient cultures of Persia (present-day Iran), and is celebrated as Nauryz and Navroz by many of the republics in Central Asia and the Caucasus. This festival is also celebrated as Naw Ruz in the Sufi and Baha’i Faiths. For Baha’is, Naw Ruz marks the end of their annual 19-Day Fast period on March 20 and the beginning of the 170th new year of their calendar.
Naw Ruz did not originate with the Baha’i Faith, but is an ancient Persian celebration that also marks the start of the Zoroastian year and is celebrated as the day on which Zoroaster received His revelation from God. Yet the day did not originate with Zoroaster, either. Tradition has it as old as 15,000 years, predating the last ice age.
Although it was never a Moslem festival, the celebration of Naw-Ruz continued in Persia even after that country came under Moslem rule. According to some Shi’i traditions, Naw-Ruz was a day of many events of great religious significance, among them God’s first covenant with mankind, the first rising of the sun, the grounding of Noah’s ark on Ararat, Gabriel’s first appearance to Muhammad, the destruction of the idols in the Ka’bih by ‘Ali Muhammad’s appointment of ‘Ali as His successor, the appearance of the Qa’im over the Antichrist. Similar accounts of Naw-Ruz are also found in Zoroastrian literature.
Activities will include readings from Persian poetry and Baha’i Holy Writings, sharing refreshments and sweets and a special table displaying traditional items symbolic meanings such as peace, prosperity, growth, rebirth, enlightenment, cleanliness, patience and affluence. Refreshments will be shared and potluck food is welcomed. The event is co-sponsored by the Asian Cultural Center of Vermont and the Brattleboro Baha’i Community. All are welcome.