We are reaching “Nowruz” in a few days, it is the time to celebrate the first day of spring that marks the start of the Persian New Year. Nowruz means new day/new light, this day is an intangible culture that Persians have carried for decades, its values are built upon togetherness and revival of nature as the cold season ends and the warm days begin.
One of the most prominent traditions in celebrating Nowruz is “Haft seen”, which is an arrangement of seven symbolic items that start with the letter “س” that is pronounced as “seen”. The start of spring was the time that trees blossomed, crops grew and it was said that a new life was beginning, this growth was strongly connected to the items arranged on “haft seen” and the symbolisms they carry. The items include:
1. Sabzeh - wheat , barely or lentil sprouts growing in a dish - symbolising rebirth
2. Samanou - a sweet pudding made from wheat - symbol of affluence
3. Senjed - the dried fruit of the oleaster tree - symbolising love
4. Somaq - sumac- symbolising (the coloraturas of) sunrise
5. Serkeh - vinegar - symbol of age and patience
6. Seeb - apple - symbol of beauty and health
7. Seer - garlic - symbolising medicine
In addition with:
Sekkeh - coin - prosperity and wealth
Tokhme Morgh - egg - one for each member of the family (fertility)
Sham - candle - symbol of enlightenment and happiness .
Ayehneh - mirror - symbol of self reflection and introspection
Mahee - fish in water - symbol of life without limits, the infinite (water) and life within it (fish).
Another value that is associated with Persian New Year and is a big part of it is the house visits and spending time with families and loved ones, these gatherings continue until the 13th day of the spring.
Nowruz has been celebrated for at least 3000 years since 3rd millennium BC, however since the Islamic ruling of Persia the date has been altered which makes this New Year 1399 in the lunar year. Every lunar year has an animal sign symbolizing it, this year, 1399, is the year of the “rat” that is seen as a sign of wealth and surplus.