The thirteenth day after Nowruz is called Sizdah-Bedar literally translated as "thirteen-outside-door" or out-of-doors-on-the-thirteenth. Visits between households start on Nowruz Day with visits between close family members and continue in the days following Nowruz to include close friends as well as community elders.
In India, Zoroastrian families welcome guests with a sprinkling of rose water and a visit to the Nowruz table where the matriarch may hold up a mirror and invoke a smile from her guests. This simple ritual may be performed at a designated spot decorated with stamped powdered chalk designs sometimes called chuna or rangoli. The rituals add to the joyous nature of the occasion.
In Iran, some families let others know which day they will be at home and the greeting of guests as well as the refreshments served, follow a tradition called Taurouf, a word which integrates formal etiquette and service.
The Outdoors and Sizdah-Bedar
The thirteenth day of the New Year festival is Sizdah-Bedar (literally meaning "passing the thirteenth day", figuratively meaning "Passing the bad lock of the thirteenth day"). This is a day of festivity in the open, often accompanied by music and dancing, usually at family picnics.
The Nowruz holidays are a time for picnicking and outdoor excursions. The picnics and excursions are made to the countryside, parks and country homes. This is especially true for the last day of the festivities - the thirteenth day after Nowruz - a day called Sizdah-Bedar literally translated as "thirteen-outside-door" or out-of-doors-on-the-thirteenth.
The concluding Nowruz customs are the removal of the Nowruz table decorations on the thirteenth day, Sizdah-Bedar, and spending the day out-of-doors. After the Nowruz spread is disassembled, the sprouts grown for the table are thrown into a moving river. Some unmarried girls tie knots out of the sprouts and wish for good fortune and success in finding the love of their life.
Sizdah bedar celebrations stem from the ancient Persians' belief that the twelve constellations in the Zodiac controlled the months of the year, and each ruled the earth for a thousand years at the end of which the sky and earth collapsed in chaos. Hence Nowruz lasts twelve days and the thirteenth day represents the time of chaos when families put order aside and avoid the bad luck associated with the number thirteen by going outdoors and having picnics and parties.
While the superstitious may associate the 13th day with bad luck, there is no such notion in Zoroastrian traditions. Perhaps the myth that it is unlucky to stay at home on the thirteenth was created to give the house-bound added incentive to leave their homes and appreciate the spring-time unveiling of nature's beauty.
For Zoroastrians, this day celebrates the unfolding bounty of nature and life (gaya). Sizdah-Bedar provides an opportunity for Zoroastrians to enjoy what nature has to offer while renewing their covenant to protect or enhance the environment, and not defile any of the seven aspects of the corporeal creation (gaiety): fire, air, water, earth, plants, animals and human beings.
At the end of the celebrations on this day, the sabzeh grown for the Haft Seen (which has symbolically collected all sickness and bad luck) is thrown into running water to exorcise the demons (divs) from the household. It is also customary for young single women to tie the leaves of the sabzeh before discarding it, so expressing a wish to be married before the next year's Sizdah-Bedar. Another tradition associated with this day is Dorugh-e Sizdah, literally meaning "the lie of the thirteenth", which is the process of lying to someone and making them believe it (similar to April Fool's Day).
As the sun sets, the Nowruz festivities draw to a close.
|1||Nowruz, Nauroz||21 March 2022 (Monday)|
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