Photos: ‘Nowruz Khani’ ritual heralds advent of Persian New Year

IFP- Every year, a few days before the beginning of the New Persian Year, traditional singers known as Nowruz Khans herald the arrival of spring in the villages of northern Iran by singing and playing their instruments.

The Nowruz Khans – singers performing traditional songs heralding the emergence of the new season and Nowruz – have come to the village of Mohammad-Abad in Gorgan, northern Iran, to announce the arrival of the new year, season and time for a thorough housecleaning.

Nowruz-Khani is one of the numerous festivals and rituals that annually mark the arrival of spring in Iran. Nowruz Khans sing folklore and local songs and recite poems praising Shiite Imams.

Nowruz Khani, or singing for Nowruz, is an age-old tradition practiced by natives of the northern Iranian provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran, and Golestan. Nowruz-Khans usually go to the door of their neighbours’ houses and sing songs for them.

Nowruz Khans deliver their performances in groups of up to three people. The leading member of the group, who is also a poet, can play melodies and tunes with his own voice. One of the other two group members, called Nowruz Khan’s friend, sings the songs along with the main singer. The third one, dubbed ‘Khorjin Dar’ (saddlebag holder), goes to the doorstep of the houses and, by singing folklore and local songs heralding the arrival of spring and flourishing of the plants, prays to God for their resident’s full health and prosperity in the new year.

The owners of the houses also give them money, candies, walnut, eggs, beans and raisin in return.

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