Happy Nowruz!

Nowruz, or “new day” in Persian, is an ancient Zoroastrian festival that marks the beginning of the solar New Year, and is celebrated in the Middle East, West Asia, Central Asia, Caucasus and parts of Eastern Europe, and throughout the Iranian Diaspora. It incorporates flowers, colourful confections, dried nuts and fruit, cooking and serving various Persian culinary delicacies and sending effusive messages of greeting and good wishes to friends and family.

Iranians traditionally gather around a “Haft-Seen” (translated as Seven-S’s). This is the traditional table set with items that officially recognize the holiday and the start of spring.

The “Haft-Seen” consists of seven items that in Farsi begin with the letter “S.”

Sabzeh: lentil sprouts that grow in a dish, symbolizing rebirth

Samanu: sweet pudding made from wheat, symbolizing affluence

Senjed: dried fruit of the oleaster tree, symbolizing love

Seer: garlic, symbolizing medicine

Seeb: apple, symbolizing health and beauty

Somaq: sumac berries, symbolizing the color of the sunrise

Serkeh : vinegar, symbolizing age and patience

Other items that can be found on the “Haft-Seen” include eggs to represent good luck and fertility, goldfish in a bowl to represent new beginnings and a mirror to always look at your reflection.

Sources:

Nowruz is approaching cheerfully, so what is Nowruz?

Celebrate Nowruz like a pro

Persian recipes from a Persian expat in America

Via the BBC, a handy guide as to how to celebrate Nowruz