Khane Tekani (Spring-Cleaning)P
ersians, Afghans and other groups start preparing for the Norouz with a major spring-cleaning of their houses, the purchase of new clothes to wear for the new year and the purchase of flowers (in particular the hyacinth and the tulip are popular and conspicuous.)
In association with the "rebirth of nature", extensive spring-cleaning is a national tradition observed by almost every household in Persia. This is also extended to personal attire, and it is customary to buy at least one set of new clothes. On the New Year"s day, families dress in their new clothes and start the twelve-day celebrations by visiting the elders of their family, then the rest of their family and finally their friends. On the thirteenth day families leave their homes and picnic outdoors.
During the Norouz holidays people are expected to visit one another (mostly limited to families, friends and neighbors) in the form of short house visits, which are usually reciprocated.
Typically, on the first day of Norouz, family members gather around the table, with the Haft Seen on the table or set next to it, and await the exact moment of the arrival of the spring.
At that time gifts are exchanged. Later in the day, the first house visits are paid to the most senior family members. Typically, the youth will visit the elders first, and the elders return their visit later. The visits naturally have to be relatively short, otherwise one will not be able to visit everybody on their list. A typical visit is around 30 minutes, where you often run into other visiting relatives and friends who happen to be paying a visit to the same house at that time. Because of the house visits, you make sure you have a sufficient supply of pastry, cookies, fresh and dried fruits and special nuts on hand, as you typically serve your visitors with these items with tea or sherbet. Many Iranians will throw large Norouz parties in a central location as a way of dealing with the long distances between groups of friends and family.
Some Norouz celebrants believe that whatever a person does on Norouz will affect the rest of the year. So, if a person is warm and kind to their relatives, friends and neighbors on Norouz, then the new year will be a good one. On the other hand, if there are fights and disagreements, the year will be a bad one.
One tradition that may not be very widespread (that is, it may belong to only a few families) is to place something sweet, such as honey or candy, in a safe place outside overnight. On the first morning of the new year, the first person up brings the sweet stuff into the house as another means of attaining a good new year.
Nowrouz: The Iranian New year
Norouz in Afghanistan
Norooz Rituals in every region of Iran