Central Asia — (SAT-7 / MNN) — Last week marked the end of 13 days of Norooz: the Persian New Year celebrated in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. Norooz, which began on the first day of spring this year, draws families together to celebrate new beginnings and hopes for the future.
Families traditionally decorate a table or carpet in the home with seven dishes. The dishes make for a beautiful display and represent rebirth, health, happiness, prosperity, joy, patience, and beauty.
The thirteenth and final day of Norooz, celebrated this year on March 30, represents a time of carefree fun. People put aside order and their regular routines to have parties. On this day, called sizdeh bedar in the Farsi language, families gather on a walk carrying trays of sprouted grass seeds and find a cool, grassy spot for a picnic. It is a fun time for families to come together, share food, and dance.
SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, celebrated Norooz in several live shows showing how the channel values and upholds old traditions. During special live episodes on SAT-7 PARS, hosts prayed for the viewers in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. They prayed for resolve to the social and economic problems in these countries, and for blessings to all in the New Year.
In an episode of Together with You (in Farsi, Hamra ba Shoma), the hosts discussed family traditions. Sully shared that her mother used to set a small piece of grass on the table to represent re-birth and place a cube of sugar in it to symbolize a sweet year ahead.
A special episode of Dandelion (in Farsi, Ghasadek) hosted guest Brother Shoaib, who talked about Norooz traditions in Afghanistan. Instead of celebrating the 7 dishes, Afghans celebrate 7 fruits, symbolizing health.
Not all Farsi-speaking Christians celebrate Norooz, but Brother Shoaib explains why SAT-7 PARS upholds the tradition, “As the Persian New Year represents new beginnings, it is a good time to remember that we are renewed and have hope in Christ.” He pointed to Isaiah 43:18-19, which encourages believers not to dwell on the past, but to look ahead for new works of God.
Pray that in the year ahead, SAT-7 PARS will lead more people in Farsi-speaking nations to look to Christ for new beginnings and a hopeful future.
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