Iran (MNN) — With the spring equinox comes a New Year for the people of Iran. Recently
SAT-7 PARS aired a special LIVE episode celebrating Norouz, the Iranian New Year.
The SAT-7 PARS team put their full weight behind the New Year celebration, rehearsing late into the night and coming back to the studio at 4:30am to film. As the excitement grew while they prepared for the live program, the team stopped and spent a few minutes in prayer. During the show, the team rang in the New Year with hosts Reza and Nikoo reciting poetry and taking viewer calls, singers performing live, and special appearances from the Executive Director and Parastoo from the kids show Gardooneh. During a commercial break, the team wished one another "Norouz Mubarak," meaning "Happy New Year!"
A number of symbolic traditions mark this ancient celebration of the spring equinox. In preparation for family visits, Iranians clean carpets and furniture, buy new clothes, paint eggs, and decorate a table in the home that includes seven symbolic items beginning with the Farsi letter "s." Among them are wheat or barley symbolizing new growth, eggs symbolizing fertility, and coins symbolizing prosperity. The host gives guests small gifts to take home.
The Executive Director of SAT-7 PARS explained that there is a special level of excitement surrounding the New Year. I asked, "What about Christmas and Easter?" While these holidays are very important to Iranian believers, she said these are not necessarily happy memories for her and many other Iranians because they associate them with increased oppression.
During the past year, people in Iran have weathered a number of challenging developments in the country. Inflation, unemployment, and the blocking of technology have weighed heavily on the quality of life for many Iranians. In spite of this environment, numbers show that the Iranian Church is growing. This is due partly to a blossoming house church movement. The Executive Director of SAT-7 PARS hopes that SAT-7 programming will take believers to new levels of spiritual growth and maturity. This is done, in large part, through a SAT-7 PARS program series called "Seminary of the Air" (SOTA).
With all the reflection and hopefulness that accompanies the turn of a New Year, Iranian believers are an encouraging testimony as they assemble to study the Bible and worship at great risk. SAT-7 seeks to provide culturally-relevant programming to viewers, and the SAT-7 PARS team puts forth an incredible effort to provide Christian entertainment to audiences during the Norouz holiday.