The Story of Amu Nowruz

The Story of Amu Nowruz

Once upon a time, there was an experienced and cheerful traveler named Amu Nowruz who traveled all around Iran and had many stories about his travels. He started his journey at the beginning of Spring, and he traveled to all parts of Iran and even other parts of the world.

Amu Nowruz was a kind old man, and he was in love with Nane Sarma1. He traveled all year to have one evening with his beloved wife. On the other hand, Nane Sarma waited all year to embrace him in the last day of the winter. So, every year she woke up earlier that day, swept and cleaned their house, prepared the Haft Seen2 table, and waited for her beloved husband.

But every year, she would fall asleep right before Amu Nowruz arrived. Amu Nowruz never could bring himself to wake her up. He calmly sat next to Nane Sarma and helped himself with the delicious food that Nane Sarma had prepared for him. Then he picked a flower from their garden and placed it on her châdor3. After that, he was ready to continue the rest of his year-long journey. When the sun gently touched Nane Sarma’s face, she woke up and realized she had missed seeing Amu Nowruz once more which meant she should wait for the next year to see him.

The story of Amu Nowruz is one of the most famous anecdotes in Iran and its neighboring countries which share this ancient new year celebration. This mythical anecdote in Iranian folklore has been passed on from generation to generation. Nane Sarma symbolizes winter and cold season, while Amu Nowruz represents the beginning of spring and rejuvenation. These two mythical characters remind us of transformation and the cycle of life.


1 Nane Sarma is the embodiment of winter.

2 Haft Seen Table: Haft Seen is the arrangement of seven (haft) symbolic items starting with the letter ‘s’ (pronounced ‘seen’) in Farsi. For more information, visit the bottom of the page.

3 châdor is a long veil usually with flower motifs.