Nowruz or more accurately NAUV ROOZ is the most sacred and happy festival of Zoroastrianism. The “new dawn/light” after equinox is called Nauv rooz. This fresh “new dawn/day” is a reminder of the fresh “New Dawn/light” which will bring the future age of the Immortals, and the coming of everlasting spring, the faršö kereiti, when the worlds entire will be made “splendid, glorious and brilliant” for all eternity.
Our “limited time” will be succeeded by the “Time of Long Ages or the Age of the Gods” daregö xva-dhátahæ. The worlds will be made “pristine and pure,” as it was first in the luminous thought of Ahûrá Mazdá.
The ancient Avestan texts talk of celebrating the sacred moment when the center/middle position maiδ.iia of the Sun and the celestial points/paths paθ are at the same hamaß, or equal distance from each other called Hamaß.paθ.maiδ.iia or EQUINOX in the Avestan. Nauv rooz is the first “new dawn/light” after the spring equinox.
Nauv means “new” Rooz “light” comes from Avestan raôča, Vedic rociṣ-/ruci, Tocharian B lyuke Old Norse ljós, Old English lēoht, German licht, Latin. lūx, AstLeon. lluz; Spanish luz, all going back to reconstructed Proto Indo European *lóuks/léukos– “light.” (Courtesy of Didier Calin)
In Zoroastrianism, the “brilliant dawn” or uš bám prayer formula is a must read for every devout Zoroastrian in early morning hours.
In the gathic poetry, the glory of fresh dawn ûšá and “fulfillment of wishes” ûštá from the root vas ”wish, heart’s desire” are closely connected phonetically and through poetic imagery.
Likewise in the Vedas there is talk of “seers having found the hidden light and regenerating dawn” (Rig Veda 7.76.4.)
In Germanic Polytheism Ēostre, Old English: Ēastre, Old High German Ôstara is the glorious goddess of spring and dawn. Ôstara derives from Proto-Germanic *austrōn meaning “dawn,” a descendent of the Proto-Indo-European root *aus-, “to shine” (modern English EAST also derives from this root.)
Like the Avestan account the emphasis in Germanic Paganism is on the “regeneration of god-powers and a new age of Immortals.”
In Yasna 44.5 of the poetic gathas we read:
ké ýá ûšáv arém-piθwâ ḵšapá.čá
ýáv man.aôθrîš čaž.döηh.vañtem areθ.ahiiá
From whom (is) dawn, high noon and night? That makes the discerning, wise, mindful of the accomplishments/triumph (in the future age of the gods.)
Per the ancient commentary areθ “accomplishment, fulfillment, success” refers to the coming saôšiiánt and the future age of the victorious Immortals in an eternal spring.
Avestan Spring Celebrations start with bonfires few nights before the equinox. Bonfires are in honor of the departed souls. People dress in costumes, and go door to door for treats while wearing masks. This ritual is very similar to Halloween.
Nauvrooz table is adorned with sprouted lentils, colored eggs, hyacinth flower, apples, mirror, fire, sacred rue (incense,) wine, milk, bread, coins and sweets.
The table shall symbolically reflect the physical creation of the 7 foremost brilliant Immortals, called speñtá “auspicious, sacred, bright” in the Avestan. Hence, each symbolic item on the nauv rooz table item must start with the letter S.
I shall conclude by stating that the Roman Pagan New Year also started in spring season. The name of the months October, November, December respectively meaning 8th, 9th and 10th months point to a new year starting in march or in spring.