A bold spring awakening in Iran marks the Persian New Year, Nowruz | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

A bold spring awakening in Iran marks the Persian New Year, Nowruz

As the last bit of winter’s chill rolls away from the ground, and flowers and grass take up their rightful new place on the soil, life across Iran teems in colorful new light as Iranians welcome spring, or bahar. Friday is the vernal equinox, the point when the sun reaches its zenith over the Equator, marking the start of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, as well as New Year’s Day, or Nowruz, on the Persian calendar.

Celebrated for more than 3,000 years, the ancient Iranian festival dates back to at least 1700 B.C. (Zoroastrian era). It is also celebrated by Kurds, Afghans and the Azeri. In 2014, photojournalist Robbe Vandegehuchte visited several Iranian cities — Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan — to capture the many aspects of Nowruz. From its distinct fire-jumping festival, Chaharshanbe Suri, to family-style potluck dinners, the streets were alive with robust activity set against a backdrop of colorful vignettes and picturesque mountains.

“Iranians love the beginning of spring because it has such a magical atmosphere,”

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