March 22, 2012

Happy Nowruz! A Basic Guide to Celebrating Persian New Year!

Persian New Year Celebration

For those who are interested in learning about the ancient Persian New Year celebration, this post is a simple and brief step by step guide on how to prepare for Nowruz from before, during and after the Sal-e Tahvil (Vernal Equinox). It may be somewhat late to write about these tips now but I hope future readers will find it useful.

Events leading up to Nowruz:
  • Khaneh Tekani: Cleaning your house from top to bottom, to renew and revive your home in time for the Nowruz celebrations. When to start your khane tekani depends on what you plan to do. It may take several hours or several days depending on the number of rooms, how thorough you want to clean and how much time you have.  For more information, please see the following links: Spring cleaning Iranian style and also Spring Cleaning.
  • Growing Sabzeh: The best time to grow your seeds is about two weeks before Nowruz. It takes about two weeks to have a beautiful sabzeh. It may not turn out to be a tall sabzeh but it will have a better chance of lasting longer until sizdah bedar. However, if you prefer a long sabzeh on your haft-seen table start your seed germination a few days earlier.  For more information please see the link on growing sabzeh.
  • Making Samanoo: Samanoo (wheat pudding)
  • Chahar Shanbeh Suri:  Chahar shanbeh suri is celebrated on the eve of the last Tuesday of the year, where small bonfires are made and people jump over the fire while singing, "Zardi-e man az to, Sorkhi-e to az man" (my sickness and problems are all yours and your warmth and energy is mine). Please see the following link for more information on chahar shanbeh suri and aji chaharshanbeh suri.
  • Buying New Clothes: Buying new clothes and shoes for the children are part of the Nowruz tradition. 
  • Eidi:  Remember to set aside eidi for the children. They usually receive gifts or a small sum of money from their parents and close relatives such as grandparents, aunts and uncles. 
  • Sofreh Haft-Seen: Gather everything you'll need for your haft-seen spread, including the seven items that start with the letter seen (S) in Persian, Spring flowers (Hyacinth, tulips), mirror, candle, goldfish, sweets and ajil (mixed nuts). For more information please see the following link on haft-seen and preparing for Nowruz.
  • Gathering around the Haft-Seen Table: At the exact time of the vernal equinox, gather around your beautiful haft seen table with your children in their new outfits and celebrate the arrival of the new year and the rejuvenation of nature.
  • Nowruz Lunch or Dinner: The traditional Nowruz menu includes sabzi polow mahi, sabzi polowmahi, kookoo/kuku sabzi, reshteh polow.
After the Sal-Tahvil
  • Did o Bazdid: During the 13 days of Nowruz celebration it is customary to visit your close family members and relatives starting with the eldest and the closest and they too visit you back in your home. Have your fruit platter, ajil, sweets and freshly brewed tea ready!
  • Sizdah Bedar: Spending a day outdoors on the 13th day of Farvardin (the first month of the Iranian solar calendar) with family and friends to get rid of bad luck. Please see the following link on sizdah bedar.
I would like to share some of the pictures I took of our haft-seen table the other day. I wish you all a very happy Persian New Year! May the new year bring you peace, tranquility, health and happiness.

Sabzeh: Representing rebirth and fertility.

Senjed (Dried Fruit of the Lotus Tree): Representing love

Seer (Garlic): To ward off bad omens

Sekkeh (Coins): Representing wealth and prosperity

Somagh (Sumac): Representing the spice of life

Samanoo (wheat pudding): Representing the reward of patience and the sweetness of life

 Sonbol (Hyacinth): Representing spring

Seeb (Apple): Representing natural beauty and health

Tokhm-e Morgh Rangi (painted eggs): Representing Fertility

Narenj (Seville Orange) in Water: Representing the earth floating in space
(I used an orange)

Mahi Ghermez (Goldfish): Representing life

Noghl (sugar coated almonds)

Faal-e Hafez

Happy Persian New Year! Happy Spring!


  1. Happy Nowruz!

    I only knew partially about Persian new year tradition so this was a great information!
    Celebrating new year is very big in my country too and I found some similarity in details that made me smile. Thank you for sharing!!

  2. Aide-Shoma Mobarak.
    Lovely post. fan of your blog. I am of Mexican heritage and I am married to an Iranian, 20 years this June (as is my sister)

    1. I am colombian and married to an Iranian. xox

  3. salam

    Eide norooz mobarak bad.


  4. nice idea..thanks for sharing....

  5. Azita joun, Happy Nowrouz. Love your tutorial into the tradition and your magnificent pictures of 7 seen. I had a very small Nowrouz. Wish you a wonderful year.

  6. I have Iranian friends ,and it was a pleasure to know their traditions . Simple illustrations , straight to the point .Thank you for sharing .

  7. Happy Nowruz, and a beautiful reminder of all the wonderful traditions of this holiday.

  8. Happy Nowruz...
    All the sembolic things in the photos are very beautiful.
    Your post is very informative about Persian culture and life.
    Thanks for sharing us.

  9. Love the pictures and the explanation of the tradition of the Persian New Year...
    Thanks for this interesting post Azita :)

  10. Your haft seen pictures are some of the most beautiful and artistic I've ever seen. I always feel especially privileged celebrating Nowruz because my father's family is American and my mother's family is from Iran. Growing up white and american, everyone celebrates christmas, thanksgiving, and so forth, but it's very special to find another Middle Eastern person who is absolutely astounded that I not only know about this holiday, but also celebrate it every year with my grandparents and family.

  11. thanks for this post....its a great help for me to know more about ur culture and tradition.i ned this for my research for the theme of our annual town fiesta celebration..

  12. Fantastic! Beautiful! Perfect! Thank you. Again, thank you.

  13. I am an American born Chilean who is married to an Iranian. After 25 years of marriage and 2 children, I am always looking for new ideas and new interpretations of thisancient tradition. The orange in water is a new variation for me. I have created a haft sin every year of our marriage; my adult children expect it and look forward to it. Thank you for the symbolic translations, beautiful presentations, and fresh ideas!