Holiday Tradition: New Clothes on Nowruz


On Nowruz, most commonly referred to as Persian New Year, it is a custom to buy and wear a completely fresh and new set of clothes.


Informant: “Before every Nowruz, my Kazakh family will always go to the mall and buy a brand new set of clothes to wear. Back when we used to live in Kazakhstan, we would always buy a fresh traditional outfit; but now that we are in the states, we just usually stick to mall clothing. To me, it’s like buying a new outfit to wear before the first day of school.”


In Persian, and many Middle Eastern cultures, cleanliness is a strongly held value that is encouraged especially before important cultural occasions. For example, most Muslims will bathe before praying or entering Mosques as a symbol of respect and purity. It is also a value associated with rebirth. In addition to my informant’s callout about buying a fresh set of clothes, many who celebrate Nowruz will also clean their entire house during the holiday. This is a sign of the washing away of sins and also symbolizes the rebirth of those who celebrate the holiday as it marks the beginning of the New Year.