Now rúz – First Day of Spring – Mar 21, 2024.

 “Now rúz” – the Persian New Year, it dates back approximately 4,000 years and is rooted in Zoroastrianism, an ancient Persian religion that predates Christianity and Islam. Today it is a cultural festival that celebrates the  warm, and  new beginning that Spring brings. Now rúz means “New Day”. 

Like most holidays around the world, people prepare for it by cleaning their homes, and getting rid of clutter to start fresh in the new year. Then one week before, children place lentils in a dish with a wet cotton ball so they sprout [Zabzeh] into a mass of green blades on the day of Now rúz.

The “Sofreh Haft Seen” (Nowruz table)

Another important Nowruz tradition is the “Sofreh Haft Seen,” or the table setting that includes at least seven specific items starting with the letter ‘S’ (or Seen in the Persian alphabet). This table setting is prepared right before Nowruz and remains out for two weeks, or until Sizeh Bedar, a picnic celebrated to mark the end of the Nowruz celebrations.

  1. Sabzeh = wheat, barley, mung bean or lentil sprouts growing in a dish – symbolizing rebirth
  2. Samanusweet pudding made from wheat germ – symbolizing affluence
  3. Senjed = dried Silverberry oleaster  or wild olive fruit – symbolizing love
  4. Sirgarlic – symbolizing medicine
  5. Sib = apples – symbolizing beauty and health
  6. Somāqsumac fruit – symbolizing (the color of) sunrise
  7. Serkeh =  vinegar – symbolizing old-age and patience
  8. Sonbol = Hyacinth flower – symbolizing blossoming spring
  9. Sekkeh = Coins -symbolizing prosperity

Other elements to include:
Candles for enlightenment and happiness – A mirror symbolizing reflexion and honesty – Decorated eggs for fertility – Seven branches from gnarled trees (olive and pomegranate symbolizes our life’s passage) – A poetry book (almost always either the Shahnama or the Divan of Hafez)

Special Foods to eat during Naw-rúz celebration.

Persian families eat the same traditional foods no matter where they are in the world to celebrate Now-rúz. Although they might vary in preparation or style, these symbolic dishes are a very important part of the Persian new year tradition.

  • Sabzi Polo Mahi: The main course is usually rice with green herbs served with fish. Fish has long symbolized life and good luck and green is the color symbolizing fruitfulness.
  • Ash-e Reshteh: A hearty soup cooked with noodles, which is said to symbolically help one succeed in life.
  • Kookoo-ye sabzi: An omelette-like souffle made with herbs and green vegetables. It is believed that eating kookoo-ye sabzi it will bring prosperity and happiness in the year to come.
  • Reshteh Polo: a rice dish cooked with noodles.

Recipes from Laura that you might like to try.

Ajil and Chaharshanbe Soori

Persian New Year and Ash Reshteh

Instant Pot Ash Reshteh – Persian Noodle Soup with Beans and Herbs

Persian Herb Quiche | Kookoo Sabzi (Kuku Sabzi)

Persian Herb Rice (Sabzi Polo)

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