Sun’s Crossing of Equator at 5:37 A.M. EDT on March 20, 2021 Heralds Start of Spring in Northern Hemisphere, and Celebration of Navroz, the Iranian New Year

“Awaken, the morning Nowruz breeze is showering the garden with flowers” — Saadi

According to the popular reference book The Old Farmer’s Almanac, Saturday, March 20 marked the start of the spring season in 2021 in the Northern Hemisphere. The sun crossed the equator line heading north at 5:37 A.M. EDT. This event is referred to as the spring equinox or the vernal equinox when the length of day and night is nearly equal in all parts of the world. The Southern Hemisphere is exactly the opposite, as it marked the start of its autumn season.

The spring equinox can occur as early as March 19 or as late as March 21 at Greenwich. For hundreds of millions of people living in Iran, Afghanistan, and the Kurdish regions of Iraq, Turkey and Syria, and throughout Central Asia, in many parts of Pakistan and India, as well as among diasporic communities living around the world. the spring equinox is celebrated as Navroz or New Year. This is the second consecutive year when Navroz celebrations are going to be restrained due to travel restrictions and other measures that have been put in place to halt the spread of coronavirus or Covid-19.

Spring Equinox Earth on March 20, 2011 at 6:12 a.m. local time. NASA
The Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) on EUMETSAT’s Meteosat-9 captured this view of Earth from geosynchronous orbit. The image shows how sunlight fell on the Earth on March 20, 2011 at 6:12 a.m. local time. Photo: NASA image by Robert Simmon

In Iran, the festivities end 13 days after March 21 with Sizdeh Bedar when people head for open fields, plains, parks and riversides to picnic, taking with them the sabzeh they had meticulously grown. There, they throw the sabzeh into the river or the fields, to symbolise giving back to nature (please read Scheherezade Faramarzi’s excellent article in Middeast Eye).


Navroz Mubarak

“Nauryz, Navruz, Nawrouz, Nevruz, Nooruz, Novruz, Nowrouz, Nowruz – this celebration of the arrival of spring is as rich in names as it is in traditions. No matter what name you call it by, this shared festivity has brought communities together across countries and regions for more than 3,000 years” Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO

Navroz Mubarak calligraphy Persian New Year by Karim Ismail
Navroz Mubarak in Eastern Kufi, © Karim Ismail, Toronto.

My daughter Nurin joins me in wishing all our readers as well as everyone around the world NAVROZ MUBARAK. In a sense, we convey this greeting through the beautiful calligraphic rendition shown above that was designed for 2021 by Toronto’s artist Karim Ismail. We thank him for his permission to reproduce his designs on Simerg and its sister websites.

We sincerely hope and pray that the crushing burden of the pandemic that we have lived through for the past 12 months eases, and that life begins to return to normal in the coming weeks and months, as more and more people around the world are vaccinated against Covid-19. However, we must continue to remain alert, and follow the guidelines given by our respective health authorities to avoid spikes in the number of coronavirus illnesses.

Navroz, Nawruz, Norooz, Nauryz, Navruz, Nawrouz Mubarak!

Nevruz, Noroz, Nooruz, Novruz, Nowrouz Mubarak!

Date posted: March 20, 2021.


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