Ringing in the Persian New Year

BY: SHIMA RAZIPOUR

haft_seen

On Thursday evening, Iranians rang in the start of No-Rooz.

The exact meaning of No-Rooz  (also spelled Nowruz) is “New Day.” No-Rooz is start of the new year on the Persian calendar which signifies the astronomical beginning of Spring. No-Rooz has been celebrated for at least 3,000 years and is considered to be one of the most prominent holidays in Iranian culture.

The Persian New Year includes several traditions and customs planned prior to the New Year. One, named Khaane Tekaani, is when Iranians clean out their homes, buy new clothes, and dust away the previous year’s bad energy. On this day it is customary to set a “Haft Seen” table with several items symbolizing the hope in the New Year.

On the Haft Seen table lay seven items, whose names all begin with the letter “S:” Seeb (apple), Sabze (green grass), Serke (vinegar), Samanoo (a meal made out of wheat), Senjed (a special kind of berry), Sekke (coin), and Seer (garlic). In addition, to represent new growth, many Iranians include a grass called Sabzeh that they had grown with lentil or wheat.

On the 13th day of the New Year, Iranians gather with friends and family at local parks and celebrate Sizdah beh dar, a holiday that is mandatory to celebrate in nature, because the Sabze must be taken to the park as it is considered bad luck to leave in their home after that day. Of all the pre- No-Rooz traditions, his day is considered to be the most popular as all the Iranians bring their favorite foods to the park and have a picnic. Children especially love this day, as it is customary in Iranian culture for adults to give young children Eidi, a gift that is typically of cash.

On the day of No-Rooz, Iranians usually are with their families hugging, kissing, and wishing one another a happy new year. A traditional Persian New Year dinner is Sabzi Polo (Herb rice), Mahi (fish), and Aajil, which is given as a gift and made of different nuts, raisins, and dried fruit.

Like the American and Chinese New Years, The Persian New Year is a time of celebration, regrowth, new beginnings, and leaving the old baggage behind, both physically and mentally.

Please note: there are various spellings of the Persian terms mentioned in the article.