Nowruz Greetings

A New Years Old Ceremony

Author: Leila Varahram/ Translated by: Mohammad Hussein Borhan Mojarad/ Photo: Institute for Iranian Contemporary Historical Studies Ltd.

Passing the Council Hall, or Tripylon of Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire, there is a stone relief which depicts Darius the Great sitting on his throne under a parasol. The crown-prince stands behind him. The significance of these two royal figures are marked by the fact that lower in the frame other men are depicted to be considerably smaller in stature by contrast to the king and his heir. Another relief similar to this is kept in the National Museum of Iran; it is presumed to have been originally placed in the Apadana palace of Persepolis. These reliefs portray an ancient ceremony known as “Bar”, or an audience ceremony with the king. In this ceremony the king would be seated on his throne and from there receive those who wished to meet him. It is assumed that the above-mentioned stone reliefs represents “Bar-e Nowruzi”, the royal offering held at the time of Persian New Year in which representatives of various ethnic groups carry their gifts in homage to the king. The word “bar” itself means “permission” and in this ceremony the king granted ordinary persons the permission of coming to visit him at the palace. This ceremony, Bar-e ‘āmm (a public audience), was the only way the average citizenry, those who were not nobles and did not have access to the court, could meet their king…

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