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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, North Macedonia, Turkey, and Turkmenistan; and

WHEREAS, Nowruz falls on the vernal equinox, or the first day of spring, each year; and

WHEREAS, the celebration of Nowruz begins 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 include: 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, 2021, as NOWRUZ in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.