Nowruz Haft Seen

How to celebrate Nowruz, the Parsi New Year

Nowruz is the Iranian and Persian New Year, which begins on the spring equinox, marking the first day of Farvardin, the first month of the Iranian solar calendar. It is celebrated worldwide by various ethno-linguistic groups, and falls on or around March 21 of the Gregorian calendar. Nowruz falls on March 20 in 2021.

Nowruz (also Navroz, Persian: نوروز‎, [nowˈɾuːz]; lit. ‘new day’) has Zoroastrian origins; however, it has been celebrated by diverse communities for over 3,000 years in Western Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Basin, the Balkans, and South Asia. It is a secular holiday for most celebrants that is enjoyed by people of several different faiths, but remains a holy day for Zoroastrians, Baháʼís, and some Muslim communities.

As the spring equinox, Nowruz marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year, and families gather together to observe the rituals.

While Nowruz has been celebrated since the reform of the Iranian calendar in the 11th century CE to mark the new year, the United Nations officially recognized the “International Day of Nowruz” with the adoption of UN resolution 64/253 in 2010.

India’s links with Nowruz began when the Persian Zoroastrians, fleeing the Arab invasions, settled in Western India. Over time they settled over the world, including Zanzibar.

On Navroz, know all about traditional ‘Haft-Sin’ table and its significance

Haft Sin, a traditional custom in the New Year holiday of Iran or Nowruz, is a table consisting of seven different items that begin with the sound ‘s’ in Persian, each of which represents a certain quality.

“Seen”( س in Persian) is the fifteenth letter of the Persian alphabet. Haft Sin means “the Seven Seens”, representing the seven items on the table for Nowruz.

On event of the Persian New Year, which starts on March 21, pretty much every Iranian family sets a Haft Sin table at home as do shopping malls, stores and offices.

Some of the elements in Haft Sin do not necessarily begin with the letter ‘s’. Each element has unique symbolic significance which we briefly explain below:

1. Serkeh (Vinegar) symbolizes patience and immortality.

2. Sumac is a symbol of love and compassion.

3. Seeb (Apple) is said to represent health and fertility.

4. Senjed (Silverberry) is seen as a simulator of love and affection.

5. Sabzeh (Sprouts) symbolizes rebirth. The greens might have sprouted from wheat, lentils, barely or mung beans (and more recently citrus seeds).

6. Sir (Garlic) was traditionally thought to avert evil; given the pungent smell it diffuses, we couldn’t entirely reject that theory. It is a symbol of protection in the face of affliction.

7. Samanu is a nutritious pudding which comes in only one color: brown. To make Samanu, wheat sprouts are transformed into a sweet and creamy delight. The seventh “Seen” represents affluence.

Nowruz accessories

Side elements used to adorn the setting include mirrors, candles, colored eggs, hyacinths, coins, and clocks. But the most controversial members of the spread are gold-fish.

There is vehement disagreement on whether or not gold-fish in a bowl actually belongs to Haft Sin. The most fervid opponents are environmentalists and animal rights activists. Though some have replaced gold fish with ceramic replicas over the past few years, many continue to buy the real deal every Nowruz.

How to make a herbed basmati rice dish for Nowruz
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