Nowruz is the traditional Iranian festival of spring which starts at the exact moment of the vernal equinox, commencing the start of the spring. It is considered as the start of the New Year among Iranians. The name comes from Avestan meaning “new day/daylight”. Nowruz is celebrated March 20/21 each year, at the time the sun enters Aries and Spring begins.
Noruz has been celebrated for at least 3,000 years and is deeply rooted in the rituals and traditions of the Zoroastrian religion. Today the festival of Noruz is celebrated in Iran, Iraq, India, Afghanistan, Tajikestan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.
Haft Seen ,also spelled or the seven ‘S’s is a major traditional table setting of Nowruz, the traditional Iranian spring celebration. The haft-Seen table includes seven items starting with the letter ‘S’ in the Persian alphabet.
The Haft Sīn items are:
Sabzeh – wheat, barley or lentil sprouts growing in a dish – symbolizing green environment, happiness and rebirth.
Samanu – a sweet pudding made from germinated wheat – symbolizing affluence.
Senjed – the dried fruit of the oleaster tree – symbolizing firmness and tolerance.
Sīr – garlic – symbolizing health.
Sīb – apples – symbolizing beauty and love.
Somaq – sumac berries –symbolizing patience.
Serkeh – vinegar – symbolizing development and evolution.
Other symbolic items can be :
Sekkeh – Coins – representing wealth
Lit candles – enlightenment and sunrise.
Decorated eggs, sometimes one for each member of the family – fertility
A bowl of water with goldfish
Rosewater – purity and cleanness.
The national colours – for a patriotic touch
A holy book (e.g., the Avesta, Qur’an,or Kitáb-i-Aqdas) and/or a poetry book (almost always either the Shahnameh or the Divan of Hafez)
B – The second groups of items on the table are for offering to guests to eat and may include:
Samanu – a sweet pudding made from germinated wheat – symbolizing affluence
Traditional Iranian pastries such as baghlava, toot, naan-nokhodchi-, Persian sweet , Gotaab,Kaak(cake) and klouche.
Aajeel – dried fruits, pistachio, walnuts, pine nuts, berries, and raisins
New Year dishes and desserts
- Ash-e Reshteh:A noodle soup traditionally served on the first day of Noruz. The noodles are symbolic, as the waves and knots made by the noodles represent the multitude of possibilities of one’s life. Untangling the noodles is said to bring good luck and fortune.
- Sabzi PoloMahi: A traditional New Year’s Day meal of rice with green herbs served with fish. The traditional seasonings for Sabzi Polo are parsley, coriander greens (cilantro), chives, dill herb, and fenugreek The many green herbs in this dish are said to represent the greenness of Spring.
- Reshteh Polo: rice cooked with noodles which is said to symbolically help one succeed in life.
- Kookoo sabzi: Herbs and vegetable soufflé, traditionally served for dinner on New Year’s. A light and fluffy omelet made with parsley, dill herb, coriander greens (cilantro), spinach, spring onion leaves, and chives, mixed with eggs and
- Nowruz Koje: A traditional New Year’s dish of theKazakh people, which includes water, meat, salt, flour, grain, and milk; symbolizing joy, luck, wisdom, health, wealth, growth, and heavenly protection.
- DolmeBarg : A traditional dish of Azeri people, cooked just before the new year. It includes vegetables, meat and rice which have been cooked, then rolled in grape leaves, and cooked again. It is considered helpful to achieve one’s wishes.
- Naan Berenji:Cookies made from rice flour.
- Baqlava:A flaky pastry filled with walnuts, almonds or pistachios, and flavored with rosewater.
- Samanu: Sprouted wheat pudding
- Noghl:Candied almonds.