Archive for the ‘nowrooz’ Tag

Happy Nowruz

Nowrūz is the traditional Persian / Iranian new year holiday. Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the Iranian year as well as the beginning of the Bahá’í year. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox (start of spring in northern hemisphere), which usually occurs on the March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed.

As well as being a Zoroastrian holiday, it is also a holy day for adherents of Sufism as well as Bahá’í Faith. In Iran it is also referred to as an Eid festival, although it is not an Islamic feast.

The term Norooz first appeared in Persian records in the second century AD, but it was also an important day during the time of the Achaemenids (c. 648-330 BC), where kings from different nations under the Persian empire used to bring gifts to the emperor of Persia on Nowruz.

Haft Sîn or the seven ‘S’s is a major tradition of Nowruz. The haft sin table includes seven items specificly starting with the letter S or Sîn (س in the Persian alphabet). The items symbolically correspond to seven creations and holy immortals protecting them. 

The Haft Sīn items are:

  • sabzeh – wheat, barley or lentil sprouts growing in a dish – symbolizing rebirth
  • samanu – a sweet pudding made from wheat germ – symbolizing affluence
  • senjed – the dried fruit of the oleaster tree – symbolizing love
  • sīr – garlic – symbolizing medicine
  • sīb – apples – symbolizing beauty and health
  • somaq – sumac berries – symbolizing (the color of) sunrise
  • serkeh – vinegar – symbolizing age and patience

Other items on the table may include:

  • traditional Iranian pastries such as baghlava, toot, naan-nokhodchi
  • dried nuts, berries and raisins (Aajeel)
  • lit candles (enlightenment and happiness)
  • a mirror
  • decorated eggs, sometimes one for each member of the family (fertility)
  • a bowl with goldfish (life, and the sign of Pisces which the sun is leaving)
  • a bowl of water with an orange in it (the earth floating in space)

Here is a picture of my Haft Sin for Nowruz 1387 (20 March 2008).

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