Today, for most observers (but tomorrow for others), is Persian New Year
, variously and roughly anglicized as Navrus (Tajikistan
), Nawroz (Afghanistan
), Nevruz Day (Albania
), Nooruz (Iran
), Nov Ruz Bairam (Kyrgyzstan
), Nauryz Meyrami (Kazakhstan
) and Novruz Bayram (Azerbaijan
). As with the Lunar New Year
, which is often referred to in the media as the "Chinese New Year" (unintentionally marginalizing Koreans
, who also celebrate the Lunar New Year), Nowroz is often referred to as the Iranian or Persian New Year. In President Obama's Nowruz address, he didn't make that mistake, although he did turn it into a fairly contrived address to the Islamic Republic.
Maz Jorbani on Axis of Evil Comedy Tour
IRAN VS PERSIA
Iran, though related to Persia, is not the same thing. The word Iran comes from Aryānām, literally, "Land of the Aryans." Other Aryan people (who also celebrate Nowruz) include Baloch, Kurds, Lurs, Ossettians, Pashtuns and Zazas. Thus, Nowruz is widely celebrated (in addition to the places already named) in Balochistan, Bosnia, the Caucasus, the Crimea, Iraq, Kashmir, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Macedonia, Syria, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The term "Iranian," in contrast to "Persian," includes all people descended from Iran who are just as fully Iranian (at least on paper, though not necessarily in practice) such as Arabs, Armenians, Georgians, Jews and Kazakhs, who are probably less likely to celebrate Nowruz. Though most of Nowruz's celebrants practice Islam, its origins go back much further and the day is especially important to Zoroastrians, as well as Alawites, Alevis, Bahá'í, Ismailis, and other Central Asian people of various faiths.