Happy Nowruz! Here’s how to celebrate the Persian new year, no matter where you are

You might already be celebrating the first day of spring in your own informal way, but there’s another holiday that can help you ring in the season. The Persian New Year, Nowruz, occurs on the vernal equinox — the first day of spring — and it’s celebrated in countries all over the world. So learn how you can ring in spring in style by celebrating this day. Happy Nowruz!

Although Nowruz in 2018 officially occurs on March 20th, the United Nations named March 21st as International Nowruz Day in 2010. The U.N. chose to recognize this ancient festival that welcomes spring since it promotes peace and is celebrated in Asian and European countries, such as Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan.

But since Nowruz has been celebrated for more than 3,000 years by 300 million people worldwide, you don’t need to be in those countries to embrace the spirit of the holiday.

As Vox reported, people who celebrate Nowruz start preparing weeks ahead of time by cleaning their homes to start the New Year off right. With Nowruz upon us, you might be a bit late to do a full spring cleaning, but don’t worry — there are plenty of other (more fun) ways to celebrate the day. Like by creating your haft-sin, which is a table or area of objects that symbolize hopes for the New Year. The Obama family notably had a haft-sin when they celebrated Nowruz in the White House in 2015 and 2016.

As NPR explained, the haft-sin always includes seven items that all begin with an S — sabzeh (sprouts for rebirth), samanu (sweet pudding for fertility), seeb (apple for beauty), seer (garlic for health), sekeh (coins for wealth), serkeh (vinegar for patience), and sonbol (hyacinth for spring).

Beyond your haft-sin, you could also prepare Persian meals — in particular, sabzi polo ba mahi, which is the main meal of Nowruz. We also wouldn’t judge if you decided to go out and order this at a Persian restaurant. Just make sure your meal is full of family and friends — and that you reflect on the New Year.

And as you join millions around the world in feasting for Nowruz, make sure you say the “Happy Nowruz” New Year greeting — “Norooz Mobarak!”

So even if it doesn’t feel like spring in many places across the U.S. right now, celebrate Nowruz to welcome this season that’s all about peace, rebirth, and growth. Because spring really is here no matter the weather outside. Happy Nowruz — Norooz Mobarak!