Praying for Persian New Year

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The most widely celebrated holiday among Persian people, both inside the country and for Persians worldwide, is called Nowruz. In Farsi, Nowruz literally means “new day.” One might be surprised to learn that this celebration predates Islam. Some believe it even goes back to the biblical time of King Cyrus the Great.

At various times of the year, many cultures have a New Year’s celebration. For Persians, this celebration usually takes place around the first day of spring and is celebrated for 14 days. This holiday is so interesting to those of us praying for the Persian world, and Muslims worldwide, because of what it represents as it is being celebrated.

After the Islamic Revolution of 1979 in Iran, hardliners attempted to suppress this holiday in an effort to “Islamize” the country. Iranians were quick to succumb to many new or increased Islamic rules, but Nouruz was one thing they were not willing to give up. Why is this interesting? It is a yearly reminder that the people of Iran are holding on to roots that are not Islamic. Their rebellion speaks volumes to the true heart of the nation—a longing for something greater. The ancient Persian empire still stands as a source of pride to the people, which distances them from the current leadership.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING PERSIAN NEW YEAR?

There are many traditions Persians have, which you can read about here, but what about Persian believers? This is a special time of year similarly to how Christmas is celebrated in the United States. It is as if the whole country closes down—schools, banks, etc. Nowruz is a national holiday for 14 days. It is time where people travel, vacation, visit family, and have parties. For Persian believers this makes for a great time to retreat, rest, seek God, and fellowship with one another. Not only during Nowruz are Persians hospitable, but this holiday gives an excuse to visit those who you may not always have access to. People will travel in or out of the country to be with their closest family and friends.

Praying During Persian New Year

Nowruz is a special time to pray for Persians worldwide. We would like to encourage you to pray with Persian ministries and those reaching Muslims worldwide during this time—March 20 to April 3. Click below to get a prayer guide from 24:14.


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