- Title: IRAN: Iranians prepare for Nowrouz, the Persian New Year
- Date: 21st March 2007
- Summary: (MER2) TEHRAN, IRAN (MARCH 19, 2007) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF TRAFFIC IN CENTRAL TEHRAN WIDE OF PEOPLE SHOPPING AT OUTDOOR STALLS VARIOUS OF PEOPLE LOOKING AT CLOTHING DISPLAYED ON OUTDOOR STALLS CLOSE OF A WOMAN LOOKING AT A PIECE OF CLOTH VARIOUS OF STALL OWNERS SPREADING OUT HEADSCARFS FOR SALE TWO WOMEN POINTING AT SCARVES AND TALKING MAN WEARING A HEADSCARF AND SHOUTING OUT FOR PEOPLE TO BUY HEADSCARFS HE HAS DISPLAYED VARIOUS OF PEOPLE SHOPPING AT STALLS A STALL DISPLAYING BUNDLES OF GARLIC, FLOWERS, BUCKETS OF GOLDFISH, AND CARTONS OF COLOURED EGGS -- ALL TRADITIONAL NOWROUZ ITEMS OF DECORATION CLOSE OF CARTON OF COLOURED EGGS VARIOUS OF GOLDFISH SWIMMING IN BUCKETS OF WATER VARIOUS OF MAN AND CHILD BUYING GOLDFISH HERBS IN POTS ON DISPLAY WOMEN BUYING POTTED HERBS, ALSO TRADITIONAL NOWROUZ ITEMS CLOSE OF MAN AND WOMAN MAN AND WOMAN PAYING COLLECTING BOXED ITEM FROM STALL SELLER VARIOUS OF BOWLS OF GOLDFISH AND DOLLS ON DISPLAY AT STALL WOMEN TRYING ON SUNGLASSES AND LOOKING INTO MIRROR VARIOUS OF PEOPLE BUYING SWEETS FROM STALLS WOMEN TASTING MIXED NUTS ON DISPLAY AT STALL CLOSE OF PILE OF NUTS
- Reuters ID: LVA7D9KEUAHRMC28EYV9V6WC5Y4W
- Duration: 00:03:29
- Topics: Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Story Text: Iranians filled open air markets in the capital Tehran to buy festive goods in preparation for the Persian New Year, Nowrouz.
At midnight local time during the night of March 20 and March 21, the ancient Zoroastrian Persian new year will begin, and launch nearly two weeks of holiday.
Women and men gathered at stalls and bought items traditionally used as Nowrouz decorations, hailing spring and symbolising new life. On sale were bowls of small goldfish, bundles of flowers, pots of herbs and coloured eggs. Garlic, traditionally used to ward off evil spirits, was also on display.
Tehran residents stocked up on sweets and savouries for the family feasts usually prepared for the New Year celebrations.
Iran celebrates several non-Islamic holidays, and the pre-Islamic Nowrouz vacation is one of the most popular, bringing the country to a virtually stop for 13 days, at the end of which Iranians celebrate the arrival of spring with outdoor picnics.
The season's festivities are also an opportunity for young Iranians to meet and flirt in a country where mixing in public between unrelated members of the opposite sex is outlawed.
The Islamic Republic has an awkward relationship with its ancient Zoroastrian religion, whose festivals are widely observed by Muslim Iranians.
Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, the government has usually tried to crack down on pagan partying, prompting clashes between police and youths testing the boundaries of Iran's social restrictions.
But analysts say since the election of conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005, hardliners who opposed the liberal policies of former President Mohammad Khatami may have less need to flex their muscles.
Others say the authorities do not want to alienate the people during Tehran's stand-off with the West over its nuclear ambitions.
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