HAPPY PERSIAN NEW YEAR EVERYONE
In Persia we celebrate the first day of spring as our New Year. New Year in Persian is called "Noruz" which means "New Day". It was originally a Zoroasterian festival and it dates back to about 3,000 years [but they restarted the calender 1390 years ago]
The Persian calender is one of the oldest calendars in the world as well as the most accurate solar calendar in use today.
Still, the restarted calendar makes me around 650 years old which is always fun to say
I would like to take the opportunity to talk a little bit about the customs behind the New Year because I am pretty sure that unless you are Persian or have lived very closely with Persians, you wouldn't know much about it
The Persian culture is very much nature linked and kinda in a similar way that on Christmas the custom is to put up a Christmas tree, on Persian New Year it is custom to collect what is called a "haftsin" ["Seven S"... the "S" in Persian is pronounced "seen"]
These are few Haftsin samples:
This is my Haftsin this year:
You have about 9 choices for the seven S' so you could substitute one for another if you don't have access to them:
1. sabzeh(سبزه) - wheat, barley or lentil sprouts growing in a dish - symbolizing rebirth
2. samanu (سمنو)- a sweet pudding made from wheat - symbolizing affluence
3. senjed (سنجد)- the dried fruit of the oleaster tree - symbolizing love
4. sîr (سیر)- garlic - symbolizing medicine
5. sîb (سیب)- apples - symbolizing beauty and health
6. somaq (سماق)- sumac berries - symbolizing (the color of) sunrise
7. serkeh (سرکه)- vinegar - symbolizing age and patience
8. sonbol (سنبل)- the fragrant hyacinth flower (the coming of spring)
9. sekkeh (سکه)- coins - symbolizing prosperity and wealth
Additional items which will be placed on the table are also:
* lit candles (enlightenment and happiness)
* a mirror (reflect upon the old year)
* decorated eggs (fertility)
* a bowl with goldfish (life and luck... also I think it has something to do with the star sign of Pisces because of signifying the spring equinox)
- In the old days they used to put a poetry book, such as the Shahnameh or the Divan of Hafez but now it is more common to place the Quran on the table. Some put both ^^
More traditional symbols/items such as Sekanjabin (sweet mint syrup), a bowl of water with an orange in it, traditional pastries such as baghlava, naan-nokhodchi, dried nuts, berries and raisins that is called "Aajeel" and/or rose water can also be added too but they are a matter of personal choice and depend more on the individual city customs.
It is customary must to clean the WHOLE house from top to bottom to welcome the new year with a clean heart and a fresh start. I am fairly certain that the term "Spring Cleaning" comes from this tradition ^^
LOL I feel SO DEAD TIRED right now... it was a big rush to clean everything for this New Year at my end since we had a huge leak in the kitchen suddenly >__<
It is also a customary must to have at least one new item of clothing on you. Usually lots of flowers are also placed everywhere to really give the house the spring feel ^^
A few minutes before the clock strikes at the New Year, all the lights in the house are lit and/or the curtains are drawn back to allow light inside.
New Years are a BIG family thing in Persian culture, much like Christmas, every one tries to be together. It is tradition for the youngest member of the family, refereed to as "one with the good hand", to walk around the house and the garden just minutes after the New Year [either holding the Quran or the poetry book] and walk to the front door, step out and step back in again.
This symbolizes walking the old year out and welcoming the new one, it's done for good luck ^^
The traditional food to have on the New Year is "Sabzi Polo Ba Mahi" which means "herb rice with fish", it is so nice I would eat it happily any time of the year *u*
And naturally there are always tons of food and snacks placed around the house for New Year.
*ish stuffed full of yummy food and happy XD*
Oh and we don't really give/receive gifts on New Year... oh no, it's all MONEY XD
The older people have to give money to all the younger people in the family (the amount varies, usually really young children get less).
If you are younger than someone, you don't have to give anything out.
This works very well for someone like me because I'm one of the youngest members of my family so WOOT
Well, there you are... I hope this was at least interesting to know ^^
Again, I wish you all A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR
May it be filled with joy and success for you all xxx
Me, Toonikun and Minyi are attending the Birmingham's Memorabilia this coming weekend, more details to be added later during the week as soon as I know where our table is <__<;;;
And please note that the Guardian picture is still being sold as a limited edition print with $6.50 of each print being donated to help the earthquake and tsunami crisis:
Journal Entry: [link]
Thank you for all of your support ^^