I didn't realize that Iranians celebrated their own New Year! I guess you learn new things every day. I received this info in an email:
"Norooz, new day or New Year as the Iranians call it, is a celebration of spring Equinox. It is the most cherished of all the Iranian festivals. Norooz has been celebrated for at least 3000 years and has its beginnings in the rituals and traditions of the Zoroastrian religion. Today, the festival of Norooz is celebrated in many countries that were territories of, or influenced by, the Persian Empire: Persia (Iran), Afghanistan, Turkey, other parts of the Middle East, as well as many former Soviet republics.
On the first day of Norooz, family members gather around the “Sofreh Haft Seen” (seven S’s) and celebrate the exact day and moment of the arrival of spring. A layout of seven items beginning with the letter “S” is prepared in all homes. These items are all symbols of good luck, prosperity and a new beginning.
Sabzeh – wheat sprouts representing growth and prosperity
Seeb – apple representing health and beauty
Senjed – sweet, dry fruits of the Lotus tree representing love
Serkeh – vinegar representing age and patience
Somaq-crushed somaq berries representing color of sunrise
Seer – garlic representing medicine
Samanu – a brownish paste derived from wheat representing sprouting spring
The items placed on the sofreh haft seen represent health, fertility, prosperity, good luck, happiness, strength, and the generation of new life, which symbolize the earth’s new beginning in spring.
In Iran, preparations for Norooz begin with a major spring cleaning of their houses called “Khaneh Takanee”, the purchase of new clothes to wear for the new year and the purchase of fresh flowers (tulips are most popular). Norooz is calculated according to the days, minutes, and seconds the earth takes to go once around the sun, exactly at the spring equinox; therefore causing it to be at a different time each year (March 20 or 21). This also falls in line with the end of winter and the beginning of Spring, when the beauty of nature springs out from the cold winter.
Congressman Michael M. Honda (CA-15th) introduced a resolution in honor of the Iranian New Year into the House of Representatives on March 19, 2009. The resolution recognizes the cultural and historical significance of Norooz, expresses appreciation to Iranian Americans for their contributions to American society, and wishes Iranian Americans, the people of Iran, and all those who celebrate the holiday a prosperous new year."