Norooz = Persian New Year
1. Persian New Year is called Norooz (also Nowruz or Nawroz). Iranians of all religions all around world celebrate Norooz. In Iran, Norooz marks the beginning of Spring and celebrates renewal and rebirth.
2. The word Nowruz is a combination of two Persian Words put together ‘now’ meaning ‘new and ‘roz’ meaning ‘day’.
3. To Iranian people Narooz is an important holiday and in Iran it is celebrated over 13 days.
4. Fire jumping is a traditional activity done on the Wednesday before Persian new year. Called Chahar Shanbe Suri, jumping over the flames symbolically rids the person of all misfortunes and bad luck of the past year.
5. A special table display is arranged during Norooz called sofreh-ye haft-seen (cloth of seven dishes). Haft-seen tables usually have seven elements that start with the letter ‘S’:
a. Sabzeh – Sprouted wheat grass – to symbolise birth and fertility
b. Semanu – Sweet pudding – to symbolise affluence and fertility
c. Senjed – Sweet dried lotus tree fruit – to symbolise love
d. Serkeh – Vinegar – to symbolise wisdom gained in old age
e. Sir – Garlic – to symbolise medicine and maintaining good health
f. Sumac – Sumac berries – to symbolise sunrise
People often add other items as well:
a. Mirror – to symbolise reflection on the past year
b. Goldfish in a bowl – to symbolise life
c. An orange in a bowl of water – to symbolise the earth
d. Painted eggs – to symbolise fertility
e. Coins – to symbolise future prosperity
f. Books of classical poetry and/or the Koran – for spirituality
6. A dish of whitefish and rice called sabzi pollo mahi is commonly served up to celebrate Persian new year. The rice is mixed with green herbs like parsley, coriander, chives, and fenugreek to symbolise the coming of spring.
7. On the 13th day of the Norooz, which is the last day, people go out and spend the day with family and friends. This day is called sizdah bedar which mean ‘getting rid of the 13th’. They take the sabzeh grass from haft-seen table and throw the green sprouts into a river or lake to symbolise getting rid of the bad luck associated with the number 13. This ritual concludes the Norooz festivities.