The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran has held a reception to mark the celebration of the Iranian New Year, known as Nowruz, at the official residence of the Embassy in Accra.
The day which is also known as New Day in Persian, is an ancient festival which marks the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere and celebrates the rebirth of nature.
It is also referred to as the Persian New Year, which is celebrated worldwide by various ethno-linguistic groups.
Addressing the occasion which was attended by members of the Iranian Community, members of the diplomatic corps and other dignitaries, the Iranian Ambassador to Ghana, Dr Nosratollah Maleki, said Nowruz had been celebrated for over 3,000 years in Western Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Basin and the Balkans, as well as Azerbaijan, Armenia, China, India, Georgia, Turkey and Iran.
He noted that the day was the vernal equinox and marks the first day of the first month of the Iranian official Solar Hejri calendar, which is also referred to as Farvardin.
The ambassador explained that special customs were performed before Nowruz and these included cleaning of the house, shopping, visiting family members, especially the elderly ones and friends, and wishing them well and a happy Nowruz.
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Dr Nosratollah said children were presented with gifts and the Haft-sin table was also prepared.
He said typically before the arrival of Nowruz, family members gathered around the Haft-sin table and waited for the exact moment of the March equinox to celebrate the New Year.
The ambassador said the Haft-sin traditionally includes wheat, barley and mung bean, or lentil sprouts grown in a dish, as well as Samanu- sweet pudding made from wheat germ.
It includes senjed (Persian olive), Serkeh; which is a vinegar, sib; which is an apple, sir, which is known as garlic and Sumac, which is a Persian spice.
He said the Haft-sin table might also include the Holy Book of Quran, a mirror, candles, painted eggs, a bowl of water, goldfish, coins and traditional confectioneries. A book of wisdom such as the Sahname of Ferdowsi, or the divan of hafez might also be added, he stressed.
Dr Maleki noted that the items were also known to have astrological correlations to the planets mercury, venus, mars, jupiter, saturn, sun and the moon.
Other items on the Haft-sin table including fruits, vegetables and nuts, whose uses and what they signify were explained by young children in attendance, who also made some recitals.
The ambassador used the occasion to wish the Iranian community well and said he was confident that the New Year would see Iran and Ghana deepening the already cordial relations.