Saturday, March 20, 2010

Happy Nowruz..Aide shoma mobarak!

Today is the first day of the Persian New Year, and I nearly missed it, thanks to the current level of bedlam surrounding me. Nowruz, is translated as new day and it is the Persian New Year. This year, I have not set the Haft Seen, or the seven S's. It is a table set with apples for beauty, garlic for medicinal properties, vinegar for patience, wheat which is symbolic of the 'rebirth' of the new year, wheat pudding for prosperity, senjed which is a dried fruit symbolic of love, and sumac for the sunrise. As you may have guessed, all of the items begin in Farsi with the letter 'seen.' Also we color eggs for fertility (might stop doing that one) and include them along with goldfish for life, a mirror for clear truth, and coins...because *we* at least could stand more wealth. Other common items found are flowers, candles, and the Koran.

The Persian New Year is a very old holiday, predating Islam, and having roots in the Zoroastrian religion of ancient Persia. The roots of Jewish Purim are thought to be in Nowruz. It is also, the first day of Spring. The celebration will go on until Sizdah Bedar, which means finishing the 13th day. On Sizdah Bedar, a picnic lunch is the means of celebration, and the picnics are usually held near bodies of water, so that the children can throw the wheat they've grown for the Haft Seen, into the water. This is my favorite ritual. The Sabzeh (wheat sprouts) is thrown out, because it is supposed to have absorbed the family's bad luck for the new year. A 'throw your troubles away' gesture. If you don't throw yours away, you are keeping your ill fate, and, if you touch another family's Sabzeh, you are inheriting their problems via osmosis. I am not a terribly superstitious person, but, I think I am going to adhere pretty closely to the rules this year.

I still have nearly two weeks, I'll pull it all together by then and let the children have some fun. I'll also commit to a week of Persian baking, which includes the original gluten free cookie recipe, Nan-e Berenji or rice cookies, and Nan-e Nokhochi or chick pea cookies. Zulbia and Bamieh which are fried dough coated in a honey and rose water personal favorite, and while not part of a traditional Nowruz, I only do this once a year.

So, wish me luck attempting all of this without a range to cook on, will you?


  1. Wow!!! Good luck with out a stove! The wheat pudding?? How will you make that?! Is this something that you have done most of your life? I have never heard of this before, but it sounds interesting, thanks for sharing!

  2. That all sounds beautiful and lovely. Well, not the broken stove part, but the ritual itself. :)

  3. That sounds lovely. I want to try some of that fried dough. Happy Nowruz!

  4. lovely lovely... hang in there... soon the wheat will be thrown!

  5. I keep meaning to ask you if you have checked out the gfcfkids yahoo group. Lots of good info, food ideas, etc.
    Check it out in some of your free time. ;)

  6. You made me learn something! How dare you do that on the sly!!

    ; )