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Middle Eastern New Year - Nowruz

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Cultural events

Duration/age

Duration: 
Suitable for children: 
Skills this activity improves: 
Middle Eastern architecture

Nowruz, the Persian new year, means ‘new day’. It is celebrated around the world usually from March 21st for 13 days.

Nowruz is a time to clean the house carefully. Maybe your child could help you clean the house. You could give them little tasks like sweeping or putting away their toys so they feel part of the preparations. It is a time to buy new clothes and shoes, especially for the children. Special food is cooked and shared at home. People also visit friends and have parties. If you are having a party you can talk with your child about who you will invite and what you will do at the party.

Setting the table is an important part of Nowruz. It is called Haft Sin. Families put seven important items on the table. These can include things like a mirror, an apple, some candles, goldfish, sumac berries, garlic and wheat sprouts. Some people also add decorated eggs and flowers. Talk with your child about what you put on the table and why.

Did your family celebrate Nowruz? Do you remember stories from when you were a child?

We put an apple on the table for the Earth and for our health. The goldfish are there for animals and life.

When I was little I used to go with my family to buy goldfish at the store. We brought them home and put them in a bowl, just like we are now. I used to wonder what the fish thought about as they swam round and round.

Materials you will need

  • Stories
  • Memories
  • Items for Haft Sin

Why does this matter?

Talking with your child about your childhood and traditions helps them to understand and develop storytelling conventions, like having a beginning, middle and end.

What does this lead to?

Sharing stories with your child will help them become storytellers too. This helps to keep culture alive in families and communities.

Language to use

  • Nowruz, new year, Haft Sin
  • Table, set
  • Mirror, apples, candles, goldfish, sumac berries, garlic, wheat sprouts

Questions to use

  • What can we put on our table?
  • What do you think candles might be for?
  • What can you see when you look in the mirror?
  • What is your favourite thing on the table?

Useful tips

  1. You might also like to take a look at the activities Growing wheat sprouts and Lunar New Year.
  2. Take some time to find out more about how and where Nowruz is celebrated.
  3. Remember to talk to your child in your home language.

More ideas

See if there is a special festival celebration in your city or town and go along to share the fun.

Variation by age

Three to five year olds