Donnerstag, 20. März 2014

Happy Nowruz!

Nowruz is my favorite holiday, because I really feel like celebrating the arrival of spring, and I like how this has been celebrated for hundreds of years in Persian culture as well as by people of various cultural and religious backgrounds.

I want to address the etymology of NOWRUZ, which is a compound word.
Literally, its original meaning may be something like "new day". That the element NOW- is related to adjectives such as new, neu, Latin novus, Sanskrit nava-, etc., is easy to recognize. -RUZ means "day" in Middle and Modern Persian. The original meaning of the word, however, was "light". The term is derived from an Old Iranian word related to Avestan *RAOCAH-, "light", itself derived from Proto-Indo-European *LEUK-(l <-> r and k <-> c sound changes are common in Indo-European languages), and is related to Sanskrit RUCI- "light", Sanskrit LOKA- "world",  Latin LUX, as well as English LIGHT and German LICHT.
The basic root Indo-European *LEUK- "shine", as to be found in Vedic (Sanskrit) ROCATE (with the l having changed into r) "shines" or German LEUCHTEN "shine", is also there in Greek LEUKOS "white".

(Btw, I already talked about the root *LEUK- in an earlier post, in a different context.)