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Sizdah Bedar is one of the Persian festival which is also known as Nature Day on 13th of Nowrouz which is usually on April 2nd. Traditionally people would celebrate the last day of the Nowrouz period in the nature by having a picnic with friends and family. People are of the opinion that the first 12 days of the year hold special importance as they symbolize order in the world and in the lives of people.
The day 13th represents the beginning of returning to ordinary daily life and inaugurates a happy new year. The tradition is to spend a day out of home or city in parks or countryside in order to have more joy and laughter clean the mind from all evil thoughts and this picnic is the way to lead get rid of it and leads people to have a happy event.
There is not a certain documents about the beginning of this festival however many people strongly believe root of this event dates back to ancient days of Persia. The strongest story is in the ancient days of Persia people were venerating the goddess of rain that is called Tishtyra in order to protect them in summer by having enough rain for farming and gardening in summer.
Traditionally people throw out their greenery which is called Sabzeh and has been provided for Haft Sin table into river or lakes in order to provide their request and venerating for water. This belongs to early Zoroastrianism cosmology that there was a mythical river that clouds also took up rain from the same mythical river.
Every year Tishtrya goes to the river in shape of a white stallion to fight the Demon of Dearth, appearing in shape of a black stallion. After his victory, Trishtrya rushes into the sea and water flows and is dispersed. Some of the water is mixed with seeds of plants which sprout as the rain falls.
Ancient Iranian rituals quite often enacted their mythologies; waters were respected and many rites existed with respect to waters. It is very likely that several of these were combined to preserve some aspect of the ancient celebrations venerating waters.
Iranian people have a tradition of gathering their family members and grouping them together with the other families to spend a full day of picnic outdoors among the other countrymen at the beauty of the nature on the 13th day of Nowrouz celebrations. This kind of joy and solidarity has been celebrated among Iranian people for thousands of years on this day.
People will also release their Haft Sin goldfish into a pond or river. The festivities continue all day until sunset. Various kinds of food and delicacies are prepared with tea, local drinks, fruits, bread, cheese and fresh herbs, noodle soup (ash’e reshteh).
Traditionally, people play practical jokes on each other and tell white lies on this day, calling it the thirteenth lie (this is very similar to April fool’s Day). It is believed to be the oldest prank-tradition in the world still alive today, which has led many to believe that the origins of the April fool’s Day refers to this tradition which is believed to have been celebrated by Persians as far back as 536 BC.
Another tradition on the Sizdah Bedar, is the knotting of blades of grass by unmarried girls in hope of finding a decent companion at these kinds of celebrations. The other family members may also meet the others at the festival and find possible candidates for their unmarried daughters as well as sons in order to make arrangements for their proper introduction at later time.
The knotting of the grass represents the wish for decent fortune in life, love and the bond between a man and a woman. As the blade grows and eventually the knot is opened, it symbolizes finding a solution to hardships and wishes coming true.