Celebrated for more than 3,000 years, the ancient Iranian festival dates back to at least 1700 B.C. (Zoroastrian era). It is also celebrated by Kurds, Afghans and the Azeri. In 2014, photojournalist Robbe Vandegehuchte visited several Iranian cities — Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan — to capture the many aspects of Nowruz. From its distinct fire-jumping festival, Chaharshanbe Suri, to family-style potluck dinners, the streets were alive with robust activity set against a backdrop of colorful vignettes and picturesque mountains.
“Iranians love the beginning of spring because it has such a magical atmosphere,” Vandegehuchte tells In Sight. “Even with all the rules and prohibitions they face daily by the government, they manage to celebrate with joy (albeit sometimes in secrecy). I hope a real spring will come to Iran; an end to its cocoon of isolation by government and international sanctions.”