Celebrating Iranian New Year in Style
Photography by Samir Shirazi
Loving vehicles from the past means it’s important to work hard on keeping them fit and road ready, as well as share them with friends and family whenever possible. Spring is the natural time for rejuvenation, and with the Iranian new year, Nowruz, on March 21, it’s the perfect time to get classic cars out of storage.
For thousands of years, Iranians have used a precise calendar to know weather conditions for agriculture. Since then, many other calendars were derived from that, with some changes. However as it was (and still is) one of the most accurate calendars, it placed New Years in the springtime and combines many exciting celebrations at around the same time.
Chaharshanbe Suri, loosely “Wednesday Light” in English, is a huge event held on the last Tuesday of the year, and features people jumping on fire in order to get rid of any negativity in their life; it may seem strange but it’s very fun!
In Iran, the exact time that the year changes is not at midnight. Instead, it changes each year in order to reflect a more precise start to the new calendar. All the family gathers around a special table called Haft Seen, meaning ‘seven S’; hence it includes seven main things. Each item’s name begins with an ‘s’ in Farsi, and each one is a special symbol. Around this table, families pray and wait for the new year.
After, there’s a two week holiday, which is the best time to visit all of your family and friends in the region. My friends and I would often use this time to have car club meetings, and for those of you who are lucky enough to visit Tehran during the two weeks after Nowruz, there is usually an exhibition of classic cars at the famous Milad Tower, as well as the National Car Museum of Iran.
Classic car gatherings start usually with a “Cars & Tea” event, which is just Cars & Coffee…except that Iranians prefer tea! Cars are chosen carefully, and many incorporate a one or two-day rally, running to the north of Iran or a shorter distance into the local countryside and back. Events often continue into the spring with club gatherings at the Azadi race track, the second oldest in Iran.
No matter what you drive or where you’re from, today’s Nowruz celebration marks the start of spring—and it’s the best time to go for a drive, leave your worries behind, and have fun.