Celebrating Persian New Year – an Ancient Tradition

by Chef Nabavi on March 14, 2013

Persian New Year – Nowruz or Norouz which means “new day’ – is the one of the happiest family holidays and is celebrated on the first day of spring on the vernal equinox- March 20, 21, or 22.

Persian New YearDuring Norouz, perhaps the most beautiful tradition is the holiday table arranged in every Persian household.  The elements on the table are centered around two important themes – the number seven and the letter S.  The number seven harkens back to the ancient belief in the numbers’ mystic power; in Ancient Persia, people celebrated the Nowruz by growing seven kinds of seeds on seven pillars. If the seed prospered, so would the crop in the coming year.  The letter “S” in (Persian language) is also central to the Nowruz table. Each item on the Nowruz table also recalls and symbolizes the qualities of seven immortals, who in ancient times guarded all of creation, and the letter “S”:

HAFT-SINN (seven -S)

SIB- Apples (Fertility and Beauty)

SONBOL- Hyacinth (Fragrance)

SERKEH- Wine Vinegar (Immortality & Eternity)

SEER- Garlic (Health & fertility)

SENJED- Wild Olives (Fertility and Love)

SOMAQ- Sumac (fertility)

SABZEH- Sprout (Renewal)

The Nowruz Table also includes elements the represent important beliefs to the Persian culture:

  • A brazier of burning rue- Sacred herb to ward off evil spirits
  • A mirror to reflect light of lord of wisdom
  • A book of poetry of Hafez
  • A few coin for bounty
  • Rose water for clean- sing power and sweet fragrance
  • An orange floating in a bowl of water, representing the earth as it floats in space
  • A goldfish in a bowl of water for beginning of creation
  • Samanu, wheat sprout pudding without adding sugar or magic pudding
  • Lit candles for holy fire
  • Color eggs for fertility

Join us for our next Persian class on March 30, 2013, where we will be making a Persian New Year recipe!

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