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WHEREAS, Nowruz is the celebration of the New Year and marks the first day of spring; and
WHEREAS, Nowruz has been celebrated for more than 3,000 years in Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, India, Iran, Iraq, Kosovo, Kyrgyztan, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, and Turkmenistan; and
WHEREAS, since 2010, the United Nations has designated March 21 as the International Day of Nowruz; and
WHEREAS, the celebration of Nowruz is started weeks before, by Nowruz khaneh tekani “shaking the house,” which is an important Nowruz tradition to clean the house for the New Year; and
WHEREAS, in the weeks leading up to Nowruz, families put together the haft-seen, which serves as a collection of items that symbolize hope for the New Year; and
WHEREAS, the Seven S’s serve as the foundation of the haft-seen, and each item represents an important part of life; and
WHEREAS, the Seven S’s includes: Sabzeh (wheat sprouts) which symbolizes rebirth, Senjed (silver berry) which symbolizes love, Sib (apple) which symbolizes beauty and health, Seer (Garlic) which symbolizes medicine, Samanu (sweet pudding) which symbolizes wealth, Serkeh (vinegar) which symbolizes patience and wisdom, and Sumac (Iranian spice) which symbolizes the color of sunrise; and
WHEREAS, the haft-seen also includes a mirror symbolizing reflection, colored eggs symbolizing fertility, coins symbolizing prosperity, a live goldfish symbolizing a new life, and the Quran; and
WHEREAS, on the eve of spring equinox, families gather to celebrate Nowruz and eat Sabzi Polo Mahi, which is fish and rice; and
WHEREAS, Nowruz is celebrated for 13 days, and on the 13th day, known as Sizdeah Bedar, families take the sabzeh to the park and place it in water to symbolize the previous year and to usher in the New Year; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia joins those celebrating Nowruz and the new spring in Virginia and throughout the world;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize March 20, 2018, as NOWRUZ in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.