Nowruz also known as Persian New Year is annual event celebrated by Iranians all over the world to mark the beginning of a new calendar.  Depending on the location of celebration, Nowruz is celebrated on March 20th, 21st or 22nd. It was marked in Cyprus Yesterday, 20th of March 2016. The celebration has its roots in Iran but before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Central Asian and Caucasus countries declared Nowruz as a national holiday. Now, the annual event is being celebrated in some other ethno-linguistic groups around the world.

In the spirit of the celebration of Nowruz, Gundem newspaper spoke with few Iranian students at Eastern Mediterranean University about how they marked the new year away from home, how they feel celebrating the beginning of the new year in North Cyprus, the customary practices they miss about their family back home and what they hope to do differently in the new year.

We spoke to Elnaz Pakpour; a Masters student. “I would have really loved to celebrate the new year in Iran. Nowruz for us is new year and happy time. With few of my Iranian friends here, we gathered together to celebrate and have a good time. I must say that i really miss my family and relatives. I was glad when i saw the video President Barack Obama published wishing Iranians all the best in the new year and he even said some words in Persian. I am especially happy because it is sign of improvement of Iran’s relation with other countries. As regards, what i hope to do differently in this new year, this year i hope to achieve two things; finish my Master degree and start PhD.,” She said.

Rana Mahdavifar a Business Administration Masters student said she could not celebrate the holiday properly. However, she went to the mosque to pray for the Nowruz then called Family and Friends to wish them a Happy Nowruz. She said a few rituals are practiced on Nowruz, like preparing a special Rice, Vegetable and Fish delicacy, thoroughly cleaning houses and dressing up in new clothes to visit family and friends. She also said that on this day, family members sit around a special table called the “Haft Sin” to make wishes for the coming year.

Kimia Rashvad an Undergraduate Pharmacy student said she celebrated Nowruz with friends. They stayed awake all night doing lots of exciting things and even though she had fun celebrating Nowruz in Cyprus, she still felt sad and home sick celebrating away from home and she hopes the years away from home pass by soon. When asked if she had any Nowruz resolutions, she said she only hoped this year would be better that the previous years.

By Jemimah Atii