Now Ruz vs NoRooz, Let the games begin!


by bahmani

Once again, we enter the month of March, and the Iranian community like Special Olympians realizing as in each year, too little too late, scrambles to put together what little semblance of a 'flicted NoRouz celebration that it can muster.

Raising the weakest of budgets, with the help of a well intentioned but vastly out gunned, unprepared, and unqualified motley crew of stay at home mom amateur event planners, communities around the world begin the annual March of waddling Penguins to a far off hotel no less than 70 miles away from where anyone lives (cuz it's cheaper).

But nothing in this ritual of pain and humiliation can begin until the older penguins first and foremost anoint the festivities with the traditional misspelling of the name and the hell on earth debate and argument that follows.

The eldest of the Penguins in charge, claim the following of Dr. Yarshater. Who to date has produced the most perplexing, hilarious, and in fairness most imaginative spelling of NoRooz in history. It is such a historical (hysterical) feat, that it ought to be included as legitimate Persian history in Yarshater's personal windmill, the mythical never seen Encyclopedia Iranica.

And I give you (drumroll) ladies and gentlemen, for your private and personal enjoyment; Now Ruz

Yes! Now, as in How Now Brown Cow.

Followed immediately but with an ever so slight pause; Ruz. As in Hug a Smug Bug with a coffee Mug.

This is by far the definitive climax of phonetic insanity. And it would be funny enough except as you will no doubt see in the ensuing comments shortly, there are actual equally insane defenders of this most horrible spelling.

It is horrible from so many points, that one has to revel in its horror to truly appreciate the degree of phonetic havoc being wreaked.

So let us revel a bit shall we?

Once upon a time, upon a white horse, the brave Dr. Yarshater with Afghan, Parsi, and several other non-English speaking linguists went to UNESCO and asked for Now Ruz to be included in the get this, "Intangible Heritage" department. With nary a nod to your or my knowledge as self appointed knights and keepers of the Now Ruz flame (which burns), they lobbied hard and deep day after day, to get the word Now Ruz added to the "Intangible Heritage" list as a "multinational heritage"... er I guess, name or word or thing.

Now, I am sure the good Dr's cunning liguists were expert at Parsi and Afghan and every language except English, but the primary problem with the spelling is that it isn't phonetically correct. In English. Yarshater actually intends it to be a whole new English word with a new unusual and exception spelling. Maybe the good Dr. should have gone to Oxford or Webster instead? It is unknown (to me), and honestly, who really cares about this misspelling, whether Now Ruz is now (sorry) in or now (sorry, Ahhh!) not in the book of names of Intangible Heritage.

Hey wait a minute! Did UNESCO just call my Heritage Intangible?

OK, enough fun. This is a blog and they're supposed to be short and political and seriously trying to change the world and all.

The truth is there are really only a couple of ways to spell NoRooz correctly and phonetically in English.

Now Ruz is not one of them. UNESCO, Yarshater and a whole army of penguins cannot deny and defy that Now Ruz is completely utterly, and unarguably incorrect English.

NoRooz is the most correct phonetically.

NoRouz is also correct in English, but with this one you get a two-fer, because it is also correct in French.

To be sure, I conducted a survey. It's actually quite scientific. The goal of the survey was to have a non-Iranian pronounce the word correctly by themselves without any help from Dr. Yarshater, or anyone else for that matter.

I asked 100 non-Iranian people, 50 to read Now Ruz, 50 to read NoRouz. In complete isolation without hearing any of the others.

The results were:

96% who read Now Ruz got it WRONG.
98% who read NoRouz got it RIGHT.

Nuff said. Happy Nokhf Ruosh!


more from bahmani

Now and No

by pourial on

Dr. Yarshater and the linguists you so haughtily mock are quite right to use 'now' instead of 'no'.

The reason for it is that the 'ow' here is a dipthong which is ponounced differently (a bit extended) to the regular 'ó'. The difference is slight in the Tehrani accent but it is quite obvious is some others, especially in the east.

There is a relatively scientific method to tranliterating Persian and I for one would rather follow that than write whatever I feel sounds right and then bitch about how it's the linguists who are causing the confusion.

Jahanshah Javid


by Jahanshah Javid on

I prefer Norooz. I can type it faster than the other versions, looks better, sounds alright... good enough reasons for me :o)


I don't like NO

by bahar (not verified) on

Norouz is phonetically correct, but looks odd I believe. Like how? I don't like "No----" at the beginning of something celeberatory. Sounds fine in Persian, but no so in English. To my non-Persian speaking friends and aquaintances, I just refer to it as the Persian new year. You see, there is no "NO...." here.

Niki Tehranchi

Maybe he meant

by Niki Tehranchi on

"Now" as in low? Or mow? Rather than how or cow.


The "ruz" thing though, can't spin that one.

Mohammad Ala

Nowruz and Norooz

by Mohammad Ala on

I depended on a research by Dr. Yarshater to use Nowruz.  Now that you have done research, I will accept yours too.

Non-Iranians wonder why there are so many different spelling of Nowruz.  Almost each person has his or her version.  This reflects poorly on our community.  Let us agree on one or two spellings and learn to use them.  We can follow the rules, laws, and common names.Some of the research on Nowruz is posted in // site.  Thanks for your time.


persian westender

Dear bahmani

by persian westender on



With all due respect, who really cares.

eyreiniens or Airen have always been the victims of misspelling or, and its not unusual; but the worse is being misunderestood as "Jihadis".... which is interestingly is articulated closer to the original one! has ben laden done a better job than Dr. Yarshater?