Happy Norooz – Persian New Year!
Happy Norooz (Persian New Year) from all of us at:
Norooz, also phonetically translated to Nowruz, is one of Persia’s most distinctive and delightful holidays. The name literally means “new day,” but it’s celebrated as the definitive New Year. This vibrant celebration takes place during the vernal equinox. It welcomes the spring and celebrates the renewal of life. It’s said that this 13-day party dates back thousands of years to Zoroastrian times and some believe that it was created by Zoroaster himself.
The celebration traditionally begins the moment the sun crosses the equator on the day of the equinox, when the day and night are finally equal. This typically occurs on or around March 20th. Although the holiday has been celebrated for thousands of years, it’s no less popular today. In 2009, Abu Dhabi helped register the holiday on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity List. In 2010, the United Nations recognized Nowruz as an international holiday because it’s celebrated by millions of people across Central Asia and in adopted home countries like the United States.
Fresh foods, green wheatgrass spouts, eggs and a variety of symbolic items are featured in the celebration and on the haftseen table, which is an important but more recent addition. This gorgeous table setting includes groups of seven symbolic foods and functional items that begin with the lucky letter “S” or “Sin.” Even the foods enjoyed during Norooz are symbolic. For example, Sabzi Polo Mahi is a savory fish dish seasoned with green herbs, including fenugreek, cilantro, dill and parsley.
Much like we do during the spring in the West, Nowruz is a time for spring cleaning, getting rid of the old and buying or making things that are new. It’s also a time to visit family and friends and to enjoy fresh foods, fish and desserts. Like many New Year’s celebrations, Nowruz is about symbolism and good luck. Since 13 is an unlucky number in Central Asia and around the world, the final day of the celebration is spent outside, and the green sabzeh sprouts are cast into running water. As the world enters the “new day,” it’s the ideal time to enjoy the renewed bounty of the earth.