Happy Nowruz! Today marks the official first day of spring. Persians and many other countries celebrate this joyous day as a welcoming of spring and the renewal of nature. The UN has recognized today as International Day of Nowruz. There are many traditions and rituals that take place leading up to Nowruz and following it. The exact time of new year is known as "Tahvil" and its marked by the exact moment when the vernal equinox occurs. Therefore the new year doesn't always occur at the same time every year - as opposed to NYE when the clock strikes midnight.
The most significant tradition - and my favorite - of Nowruz is the traditional new year table known has "Haft Seen." The Haft Seen translates to the Seven S's. [Check out last year's Nowruz Haft Seen post here.] This table consists of seven items that symbolize various things. These items include:
Sumaq [Sumac] symbolizing the color of sunrise
Senjed [Wild Olives] symbolizing love
Serkeh [Vinegar] symbolizing old age and patience
Sib [Apple] symbolizing beauty
Seer [Garlic] symbolizing medicine
Samanu [Wheat sprout pudding] symbolizing affluence
Sabzeh [Wheat, barley, or lentil sprouts growing in a dish] symbolizing rebirth
In addition to these items it is customary to include other symbolic items depending on the tradition of the family. These items include: Sonbol [Hyacinth] symbolizing fragrance, Sekkeh [Coins] symbolizing wealth, a gold fish to mark the the passage from Pisces to Aries, a mirror to reflect the light of wisdom and creation, candles to symbolize holy fire, decorated eggs to represent fertility, and a copy of the Quran or religious text to signify prayers.
In my family I eagerly volunteer as tribute to set-up the Haft Seen every year. This year I declared the Haft Seen colors as Turquoise & Gold. There is no particular reason to choosing these colors other than Persians love tturquoise and gold. Majority of these items are from my mom's collection. In addition to the Haft Seen I set up a traditional "Sonaty" area with all my mom's trinkets from the motherland she has collected over the years. This makes for a great photo backdrop and all the hundreds of pictures we will be taking.
"Nowruz reminds us of the values and aspirations we all share for peace through tolerance, respect and mutual understanding." -UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon