March 19, 2019

Happy Nowruz 2019! Persian New Year Traditions and Haft Seen Photos

Persian New Year-Nowruz Haft Seen

Nowruz, which translates to "new day" in Persian, is the celebration of the arrival of spring, nature's rebirth, and the new year. This year's sal-e tahvil (vernal equinox) falls on Wednesday, March 20 at 5:58 pm here in New York. This ancient Persian New Year festival dates back to centuries ago and is celebrated by Iranians around the world as well as in countries such as: Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. نوروز  Nowruz is a time of togetherness with family and friends, sitting around sofreh-ye haft seen, feeling grateful and looking forward to what the new year will bring. Following the new year celebration the traditional did-o-bazdid (visiting friends and family) starts and the festivities end on the 13th day of Nowruz which is called sizdah- bedar (getting rid of 13). This day is traditionally spent by having an outdoor picnic and the sabzeh is thrown away into running water, symbolizing the removal of any negativity and misfortune from the home.

Part of preparing for Nowruz involves doing a thorough khaneh tekani (spring cleaning) and tidying the house for mehmoon (guests). A simple yet meaningful quote that I try to remember especially during this time of year is the ancient Zoroastrian teaching: Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds.

Haft Seen is an essential part of the Nowruz celebration. To set a table or a sofreh (tablecloth) you'll need to gather seven (haft) items that begin with the letter seen (s) in Farsi and each one of these items hold a symbolic meaning. سبزه  Sabzeh - wheat, lentil or mung sprouts need to be germinated a couple of weeks before the sal-e tahvil in order to have a long and green sabzeh.

  1. Sabzeh (sprouts): representing rebirth and rejuvenation
  2. Samanoo (wheat pudding): representing patience
  3. Seeb (apple); representing beauty
  4. Seer (garlic): representing health
  5. Sekeh (coin): representing prosperity
  6. Senjed (oleaster): representing love
  7. Serkeh (vinegar): representing age
In addition to these seven items there should be a mirror (representing reflection), a candle, goldfish (representing life), sumac (representing the spice of life), colored eggs (representing fertility), Hafez's book of poetry, or a prayer book, sweets, sonbol (hyacinth) and other spring flowers.

Nowruz dinner includes sabzi polow (rice and herbs) with mahi (fish), reshteh polow, kookoo sabzi, ash reshteh and dolmeh among many other dishes that might differ from region to region.

Nowruz-Persian New Year
Nowruz-Persian New Year
Nowruz-Persian New Year
Nowruz-Persian New Year
Nowruz-Persian New Year
Nowruz-Persian New Year
Nowruz-Persian New Year
Nowruz-Persian New Year
Nowruz-Persian New Year

Sal-e No Mobarak! Happy Nowruz!

4 comments:

  1. Happy Nowruz! I just finished baking two batches of your recipe for Cake Yazdi to share with my high school students tomorrow as we learn about Nowruz. They've read the comic memoir Persepolis and learned some about Iran's culture and history, so now we'll have a taste. Thank you for your lovely blog and sharing your recipes and photos with us.

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