Iranians mark Nature Day at home amid coronavirus fears 

April 2, 2021 - 21:6

TEHRAN – As the government has imposed a ban on outdoor get-togethers, people in Iran celebrated the national festival of Nature Day, called Sizdah Bedar, to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Every year on the 13th day of spring, which is an official holiday in Iran known as the Nature Day, Iranian families go on a picnic at parks or in the countryside in celebration of the ancient festival.

To prevent the spread of coronavirus, authorities have closed all parks and public places in Iran on April 2 and have imposed severe penalties for picnicking. Iran’s Health Ministry said on Thursday that the total number of coronavirus cases in the country has exceeded 1,897,000 and the death toll has reached 62,759.

While Iranians have always upheld the time-honored tradition on the thirteenth day of Noruz by spending the day outdoors, the global coronavirus pandemic has forced people to stay home this year and observe self-isolation protocols in the fight against the viral disease.

‘Sizdah’ means thirteen, and 'Bedar' means to get rid of, bearing the meaning of ‘getting rid of thirteen’. Sizdah Bedar also marks the end of Noruz celebrations, which begin on the first day of spring.

It is the second consecutive year that the virus has altered the age-old traditions. Also last year, in an act that was far different from the sole of the age-old Noruz traditions, a majority of people stayed home instead of coming together, visiting loved ones, or spending time in nature.

On the 13th day of Farvardin, which falls on April 2 in normal years and April 1 in leap years, every Iranian people try to spend and enjoy this day in the best possible way.
As in many other cultures, the number thirteen is unlucky in the Iranian tradition. Iranians believe that by going outdoors, they welcome the spring, and leave behind all the bad luck associated with the number thirteen.

On the eve of Sizdah Bedar, many typically thinking about choosing an appropriate place to spend the day. Some choose parks, some go to the countryside and others come together in a garden to celebrate the day. Usually, several families plan to gather in a place to spend the day outdoors. It is believed that joy and laughter clean the mind from all evil thoughts, and a picnic is usually a festive, happy event.

People spend the day playing traditional games, singing, and listening to music, chatting, or simply resting along the banks of the river. The joy of the day is supposed to ward off an evil that the unlucky number thirteen might bring along with it.
AFM/ 
 

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