“Nature’s Day” offers reason to get outdoors

April 13, 2023

Sizdah be dar, also known as “Nature’s Day” or “Picnic Day,” is one of the most important holidays in Iran, celebrated on the 13th day of the Persian New Year, which usually falls on or around April 2nd.

It is a time for families and friends to gather, enjoy the outdoors and celebrate the arrival of spring. Sizdah be dar represents the end of the two-week-long Persian New Year celebrations, and it marks the beginning of spring. It is a time for renewal, rejuvenation and hope for a prosperous year ahead. It is also an important day for nature appreciation as it is an opportunity for people to enjoy the natural beauty of the spring season. Many Iranians will plant trees or flowers while they are outside on this day.

The origins of Sizdah be dar can be traced back to ancient Persia, where it was believed that, on the 13th day of the new year, bad luck and evil spirits could cause mischief and disrupt people’s lives. To ward off these negative influences, people would leave their homes and spend the day outside in nature and enjoy an eventful day together. The exact age of the Sizdah be dar tradition is difficult to determine, but it is believed to have originated during the Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BCE), which was one of the earliest Persian empires.


Today, Sizdah be dar is still celebrated in Iran and among the Iranian diaspora around the world. On this day, people typically pack a picnic and head to parks or other green spaces to spend time with loved ones and enjoy the beauty of nature. One of the most important traditions associated with Sizdah be dar is the act of “sabzeh ruzi,” or “sprouting seeds.” This involves growing a small amount of wheat or lentil seeds in a dish or tray in the weeks leading up to the holiday. On Sizdah be dar, the sprouts are taken outside and released into running water, symbolizing the renewal of life and the cycle of nature.

Another tradition involves tying knots in blades of grass, which are believed to represent people’s wishes and desires. The knots are then thrown into a nearby stream or river, with the hope that they will be carried away and come true.

Overall, Sizdah be dar is a joyous and festive holiday that celebrates the arrival of spring and the beauty of nature. Whether through sprouting seeds, tying knots in grass, or playing games with loved ones, Iranians around the world come together to honor their traditions and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.


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