“May every day of ours be a Nawruz!” 

Attributed to Imam ʿAli b. Abi Talib upon receiving Nawruz gifts, from Encyclopaedia Iranica.

Nawruz (literally “new day”) is celebrated around the world to coincide with the spring equinox. Like many spring festivals from different religions, Nawruz is a time for renewal, forgiveness, and growth. Nawruz was originally celebrated by the Zoroastrians: one of the oldest monotheistic religions still practiced. Over centuries of interaction with Persian culture, Muslims began to adopt Nawruz celebrations as well as other shared traditions. The IIS Series An Anthology of Philosophy in Persia examines these cross-cultural philosophical traditions through a variety of translations and analyses.

Nawruz in verse 

Throughout Nawruz, the beauty of a fresh spring is often reflected in art and poetry. The following video, produced by The Ismaili Special Collections Unit and the Department of Communications and Development showcases two beautiful manuscripts (housed in our Special Collections) featuring poems by Ḥasan-i Maḥmūd (an Ismaili poet during the Alamut period) and Nāṣir-i Khusraw (an Ismaili daʿi and poet from the Fatimid period):

Amir Tamim, the eldest son of the Fatimid Imam-Caliph al-Muʿizz, wrote a poem entitled "On the Festival of Nawruz”. This poem can be found translated in full in the IIS Secondary Taʿlim book Muslim Devotional and Ethical Literature and in Faquir M Hunzai’s Shimmering Light. 

If Nawruz is a festival of joy and delight, 
it is through your light that it has come to be so… 

O son of the Prophet, Allah’s blessings be on you! 
You are a time-tested sword to fight life’s sorrows. 

Flowers bloom in the Garden of Light atop the Aga Khan Centre, London. Photo from Russell Harris.

Explore the poetry of Nāṣir Khusraw, built into the Garden of Light at the Aga Khan Centre.

During Women's History Month, last year, Naureen Ali gathered the stories from Ismaili women, including IIS Governor Nacim Pak-Shiraz’s reflections on Nawruz.

Ismail Bulletin, Vol. 5 No. 6-7, celebrating Nauroze (1979) Part of the IIS Special Collections. 

Dr Shiraz Kabani shares a traditional Nawruz song and its translation, as well as his Nawruz experiences in Khorog in Ismaili Festivals: Stories of Celebration. 

The Ismaili UK recently shared a video featuring IIS students and their Nawruz traditions.