Our Guest From Iran

      In Iran they believe that the first person who comes into your house on the first day of the new year brings the spirit of the new year to your home. Our guest, Tatiana, told us that is why her mother always sent her to go out and come back in laughing when she was a little girl. They would also like to invite relatives who were getting a good education or doing well in business to come to bring good luck to the family.

    Tatiana Garakani is from Iran.  She is studying at Columbia University in New York City and she came to visit us from the Global Classroom program at Metro International.  Meeting people from other countries is really great and today was fantastic.
    We celebrated Norooz, which is the Iranian New Year.  It is on the first day of spring, so this year it was on March 20.  It is their year 1380 because it is from a lunar calendar that was started by Omar Khyam.  He was a famous poet and an astronomer.  In those days Iran was called Persia.  The calendar is based on the cycles of the moon but the people in Iran also use our solar calendar which is based on the sun and starts on January 1.

    They have a two week holiday when their new year comes.  First they celebrate the end of winter and the start of warm weather by jumping over a fire. They bang on pots and pans to chase out bad spirits.  They go to each house and ask for sweet treats to eat. The holiday of Halloween came from these customs.

    Their celebration is like our Carnival because they wear costumes and masks and dance in the street at night.  We also like to sing and dance and have parades for a good time.  We listened to Iranian music and I liked it.

    We celebrate Easter in the spring.  It is a time of rebirth when the plants and flowers start to grow again.  For Norooz, the Iranians sprout seeds, and we did it too.  Two weeks before Tatiana came we brought lentils to class.  We watered them every day and they opened and roots and stems started to come out.

    They also boil eggs and color them like Easter eggs.  In our holiday and theirs the eggs are a symbol of fertility because new life comes from them.

    Just like at our holidays, people in Iran have a big meal with their family and they decorate their table in a special way.  It is called a haft sinn table.  Tatiana brought everything in to our class to explain what it meant.  There was a picture book with Iranian writing in the Farsi language.  There was also a book called the Koran which represents wisdom because it is their bible.
    They put garlic on their table because it is a herb and it is used for medicine.  They wish for good health in the new year.  The garlic had pretty decorations on it.  They also put coins on the plate to wish for prosperity.
    They put a mirror on the table.  It is supposed to make you reflect on your creation and think about how the world began.  They put a candle next to it to show the happiness that children bring to the family.
    We liked the goldfish best.  The goldfish is a living thing but it doesn't live very long, so it represents life and how short it is.  To me it means that you should enjoy life while you can because you only live once.

Learn more about Norooz at this web site:


The Global Classroom Program at Metro International


Grade 5
Mr. Gary Greenberg, Teacher
Public School 241
976 President Street
Brooklyn, New York 11225 USA