What to Do at Beautiful Nevruz Festival in Istanbul, Turkey

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Nevruz Celebrates Spring, a Festival Worth Seeing

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When many of us in the world celebrate Passover, Lent, Easter, and the Easter Bunny as our ritual of spring, some people celebrate Nevruz. Nevruz or Nowruz , a Persian, Middle Eastern and Kurdish holiday is now celebrated by people all over the world celebrates as a rite of spring. Since The Easter Bunny isn’t celebrated everywhere, and because we are all in this big ‘ole world, I thought it might be interesting to celebrate our similarities and differences. My opinion is Nevruz Celebrates Spring and is a Festival Worth Seeing.

It looks different all over the world because of the local customs and costumes. There is probably a celebration where you live. So Google it to learn more and attend Nevruz Celebrates Spring and have a great time.

Nevruz Celebrates Spring

I celebrated the Nevruz in Istanbul, Turkey and want to share the photos I took during my visit there. The streets were filled with children, parades, and bands. But first of all, here is a little bit about the history. I bet, this is the origin of Easter bunny. It’s the time of new begins, and remembrance.

The word Nevrus has a variety of spelling variations for the word Nowruz exist in English-language. Random House (Unabridged) provides the spelling Nowruz.[46] Merriam-Webster (2006) recognizes only the spelling “Nauruz” and my Persian neighbors spell the day, Nevruz.

Food, Festivities, and Fun!

The word Nevruz comes from Persian origin. The word is a combination of two words “ new” (new) and “cruz” (day), meaning new day. According to the old Persian calendar, it is the first day of the year similar to our New Years Day.

Spring Starts a New Year

Many Persians regard this day as the start of spring and the first day of the new year. The day is when the sun enters the house of Aries. So for all of my friends that believe in astrology, it has special significance to you too.

Persian Roots

According to Persian mythology, God created the world, man and the sun on this day. Kaymer’s, the legendary Persian ruler, declared this New Day a festival day. The New Day, Nevruz, commemorates creation. Additionally, Kaymer ascended to the throne on this day. Jamshid, the symbol of magnificence in Persia also ascended the throne on this day. Nevruz celebrates ascension and Persian history.

Also, Jem, the seventh grandson of the Prophet Adam, came to Azerbaijan on March 21 and declared it to be a New Day of celebration. So for many reasons Persians, celebrate Spring and a New Day on March 21 -23rd. Each year the day changes depending on the solar calendar.

From Iranian and religious Zoroastrian origins, Nevruz is celebrated by people from diverse linguistic communities for thousands of years.

Each year the day changes depending on the solar calendar.

New Day

March 21 and Nevruz is the birthday of Ali and also the day when Ali and Fatima married. After the Prophet Mohammad return from the Farewell Hadj, on this day, Ali is named caliph. According to Turkish culture, in the morning of this day, people drink milk after the reading of prayers. The reading of poems is called Nevruziye.

Turkish Tradition

According to Turkish culture, in the morning of this day, people drink milk after the reading of prayers. The reading of poems is called Nevruziye. The prayers read are either ‘Knives’ (a poem read by dervishes – ‘think whirling dervish’) and ‘Melvin’. AMelvin is a religious poem or prayer, chanted for the memory of a dead person or to mark a special religious occasion. This poem or prayer is also chanted in memory of Ali.

So for many people throughout the Middle East, and now across the globe, the New Day or Nevruz, is a time that marks the beginning of spring. Throughout, Albania, Turkey, and the Arab Nations, this day celebrate the spring season.

Here is a typical Persian Haftseen (sevens – 7) spring table that people set to celebrate Nowrooz.

Persian Haftseen table

Persian Haftseen table – celebrating spring

New Beginning

I decided to write about the New Day or Nevruz because it has global implications and applications. My lovely neighbors remind me of this day each year. We celebrate by eating and listening to Persian music from their homeland. It is a day that brings them back to their roots. I thought if we all celebrate the new beginning, the New Day that celebrates spring, we can find a commonality. Because regardless if you are Christians or Baha’i, Muslim or Jew, we are all humans of the world. We all celebrating today!

Nevruz Celebrates Spring – the Sites

I left my hotel on this bright spring day.

Nevruz Celebrates Spring

My Hotel in Istanbul

Then I and walked down by the pier and watched the men fish for dinner.

Nevruz Celebrates Spring, fishing

Next, I took a boat trip to Princess Tower and walked around the small interior and took tea.

Nevruz Celebrates Spring, Princess-tower,

Princess Tower

Nevruz Celebrates Spring, Princess-tower

Waiting for the ferry back to Istanbul and Nevruz-celebration

Back on the Streets

When I arrived, back to the European side, in Sultanahmet, the people were gathered for the festivities. The celebration brought children in traditional Turkish customs and clothing.

Nevruz Celebrates Spring

The Nevruz Parade

The most exciting part for me were the children. The very happy. They were even happier when I took their photos. Honestly, my camera lite their faces up. I showed them my photos – and they all started giggling. They were so cute. I wanted to take them all home with me. The parents watched, smiled and nodded when I asked for more photos. But, strangely to me – I didn’t see them taking photos of the children, as we do in the USA.

Nevruz Celebrates Spring

Children Celebrating Nevruz

One little boy was especially cute. He was super proud of his sock. Since socks are all the rage in the USA, maybe the sock makers, can make some for us to wear.

Nevruz Celebrates Spring

Nevruz Celebrates Spring

Those are some great socks!

Socks Make the Custom

The socks I liked and the little boy who was so proud of his socks. So sorry his socks are a little out of focus, but, I couldn’t take another – the crowd was laughing because some woman was taking pictures of socks.  Here is the little boy. He proudly posed for me during the Nevruz Celebration.

Nevruz Celebrates Spring

My new little friend, celebration. Nevruz Celebrates Spring

Metal Helmet

Last, but, not least, the head dress this man is wearing is really remarkable, it’s really made out of metal. Very beautiful, and he was again, very proud of the traditional dress. He let me take his photos.

Travel tip: Always ask if you can take photos of people. If parents are present, ask the parent’s permission to take photos of their children.

The Nevruz Celebration I wanted was really fun. The way everyone comes out to celebrate it reminds me of an old fashion 4th of July parade with a Middle Eastern flare.

Nevruz Celebrates Spring

Nevruz Celebrates Spring

Want to read more and see more of the Middle East or about my trips? Try these articles.

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Kate started traveling for work. Now with grown children, who are travelers, she travels for pleasure looking for great travel experiences. Currently, her home is in Bellevue, WA, and lives with her cat Angelina Jolie. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring new cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour or spicy foods.

4 Comments

  1. Jassim Mohammad

    March 21, 2017 at 10:10 am

    In Egypt they celebrate similar occasion called ‘sham El-Nasseem’ meanin smell of Spring which dates back to the Pharos era.

    • Kate

      March 21, 2017 at 10:13 am

      Thanks Jassim, here in the USA we celebrate with a big ‘ole Easter bunny! Everyone celebrates Spring somehow.

    • Nicolae Voiculescu

      March 21, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      In Romania is called “Martiosr” (little March – in translation). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C4%83r%C8%9Bi%C8%99or

      • Kate

        March 21, 2017 at 4:46 pm

        Thanks Nicolae, appreciate knowing that it is a special tradition in Romania too.

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