Is the Persian New Year spelled Norouz, Nowruz, or Nauruz?

Some spell it Norouz. Wikipedia says it’s Nowruz. Merriam-Webster writes the celebration as Nauruz.

No matter how you want to spell it, Persian New Year or Norouz (my preferred spelling) marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in the Iranian calendar.

A simple Google search of the term turns up the many spelling options that exist.

It doesn’t seem like such a terrible idea to have options and to not be confined to one way of doing things, unless of course you’re Allion Salvador. As contestant in the final session of the 2006 Scripps National Spelling Bee in the States, Salvador was disqualified for misspelling the word as stated in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

The truth is that, phonetically, there are only a few acceptable ways to spell the word, which means “new day”. It’s pronounced “no-rooz”, which leaves both Merriam-Webster’s and Wikipedia’s suggestions out of the running.

But, any way you want to spell it, the day—and the weeks of celebration that go along with it—are all about family, love, and the celebration of life.

This year, Norouz starts on Saturday (March 20).



Haleh Avesta

Mar 8, 2013 at 9:43pm

Shadi-ye aziz,
I completely agree with you about the spelling. i refuse to spell our lovely holiday in any way other than Norouz. The unfortunate official spelling of Nowruz forces non-natives to pronounce the word in a very inaccurate and unattractive way. So I'm sticking with Norouz, a beautiful and enduring tradition for all the ages.