Happy Nawruz! Happy Persian New Year! Nawruz means New Day(naw -new, ruz- day), new year, and a celebration of early spring when the sun begins to regain strength and overcome winter’s cold and darkness. Nawruz celebration can be religious or secular, both of which have plainly evolved considerably over many centuries, the one with extension of observances, the other with accumulation of charming and poetic customs, most of them special to it. In my family this holiday is more a tradition than a religion, we would probably fall onto the second strand– secular, which is the accumulation of charming and poetic customs. We celebrate spring, friendship, renewal of growth in nature–plants, flowers, fruits; we read poems from Rumi, Hafez, Rudaki, Firdausi to folk poems.
Furthermore, we decorate tables of Haft-sin, which refers to “haft” (number seven) and Seen (Persian letter S). This table has to contain seven items that starts with the letter S (seen in Persian). Though, most of the time you would see many things on the table that do not start with the letter S, the count doesn’t really matter, what matters most is the event being joyful. Those seven items on the table are symbolic and represent significant concepts in Persian culture.
The main Haft-seen items:
Somanac (sweet pudding) – made from wheat germ, representing wealth and abundance.
Sabzeh (wheat, mung bean, lentil sprouts growing in a dish) – representing rebirth
Seb (apple) – representing beauty and vitality
Seer (garlic) – representing medicine and good health