IRAN - The Iranians are caught between two fires today. On the one hand they suffer the American sanctions, on the other hand there are many domestic issues to overcome. During the "Nowruz" period, we investigated this stifling position with various teams across Iran. The story about Nowruz transcends borders and identities.

Nowruz literally means "new day" and marks the New Year on the Persian calendar. This annual transition takes place when we celebrate the beginning of spring on March 21. Traditionally, the Iranians must start the new year with a clean slate. But are the proud Iranian people in the position to take this symbolic new start?

Nowruz stems from the original religion of Iran, Zoroastrianism, which in turn copied it from a pagan ritual. During the 14-day vacation period, there are many old customs: people jump through large purifying fires, paint eggs, do a spring cleaning, buy presents and make family visits.

Where the party used to be an escape from daily restrictions, now there is hardly any money for a banquet, hardly any time to visit family. How do they manage to organise a successful celebration? We asked Iranians from all walks of life, from the capital to the south, men and women, clergy and unbelievers. Not without risk they talked to us about hope and fears.

Robbe Vandegehuchte

Robbe Vandegehuchte is a Belgian documentary producer and journalist.

Willem De Maeseneer

Willem De Maeseneer is a Belgian journalist.

Arno Van Rensbergen

Arno Van Rensbergen is a Belgian freelance journalist.

Thibeau Aerts

Thibeau Aerts is a Belgian Iran expert and freelance producer.

Hannes Blommaert

Hannes Blommaert is a Belgian producer and director of photograpy.
€ 4.500 allocated on 15/11/2018.


Persian Picknicks, Vranckx & De Nomaden, VRT/Canvas (Belgian public broadcaster), 8/06/2019. (in Dutch)