Nowruz, the Persian new year, plays an important rule in the life of Iranian people. As the name presents, “New Day”, people all see this as a fresh start. As it gets close to welcome the spring, there are some things Iranians do traditionally to get ready for Nowruz.
Shopping New Clothes – Getting Ready for Visiting the Family
Traditionally, during the Nowruz holidays, or as Iranians call it “Eid”, people go to the house of relatives to congratulation the coming of the new year and then they will visit them back. In order to go through this “Did-o-Bazdid” ceremony, it is believed that you must wear new clothes. So, one of the things that people do to prepare for Nowruz is shopping for new clothes. However, it may be more thrilling for children to go shopping for the new year and wear new clothes to visit their family and receive their “Eidi” which is money given to children as a gift.
Preparing Sabzi Polo and Mahi – Dinner Tradition the Night Before Nowruz
Every Iranian house prepares Sabzi Polo and Fish (Mahi) as dinner the last night before the new year. It is said that this tradition comes from the time of the Prophet Solomon who found his ring in the stomach of a fish. However, some people see it as symbols. The herbs that go with rice to make “Sabzi Polo” can be interpreted as spring and the rice can be the representer of blessing. The fish is interpreted as happiness.
Preparing the Table of Haft-sin
While every Iranian get ready for Nowruz, one of the major things they do is set up a Haft-Sin.Haft-Sin literally means “Seven S”. Iranians set up a beautifully decorated table using seven S’, each describing one thing. These seven items include Sabzeh (Wheatgrass), Samanu (Wheat Pudding), Seer (Garlic), Senjed (Russian Olive), Seeb (Apple), Serkeh (Vinegar), Sumac (Somagh). It is common to have a goldfish, Sonbol Flower (Hyacinth), coin, the holy book of Quran, poetry book of Hafez, colored eggs, and a mirror.
Each of these items represents a symbol in real life:
- Sabzeh (wheatgrass) represents rebirth
- Apple is the representer of beauty
- Sumac is the symbol of sunrise
- Samanu or the wheat pudding is the strength and power
- Vinegar is the symbol of patience
- Garlic represents health
- Russian olive is the symbol of love
Let’s Clean the House Completely – An Important Part of Preparation: Khoone Tekooni
There is this one tradition that matters most to the housewives who put this in their priority of “Getting Ready for Nowruz” list. This ritual is called “Khaneh Tekani”, literally meaning “shaking down the house”. However, Iranians do not shake their houses. All they do is just cleaning every spot and every closet in their house. From the carpets and curtains to doors and windows. The idea is you clean up your house and community, and spruce it up, in an effort to keep the evil away from your house.
Chaharshanbe Soori – Celebrating the Last Wednesday of the Year
Chaharshanbe Soori is celebrated with families, friends, and sometimes neighbors getting together in the alleys or outside the cities, prepare a fire, jump over it and spend a wonderful time together. The idea behind this celebration is to forget all about the last year and prepare for a whole new opportunity.
While jumping over the fire people sing “Zardi-ye man az to, Sorkhi-ye to az man”. This phrase literally means “my yellowness to you, your redness to me”. The “Yellowness” represents sickness and bad luck, which is thrown away in the fire, and the fire’s “Redness” gives them health and strength.
Buying Nuts and Sweets – Ready for the Guests to Come
An important part of the Nowruz Holidays is when the guests visit your house. In addition to fruits and Persian tea, there are some other things that you can find in every Iranian house during Eid-e Nowruz. These things include nuts and sweets. Pistachios, chickpeas, hazelnuts, cashews, and walnuts are some of the most favorable nuts in Persian culture. If you are visiting Isfahan during Nowruz, they will welcome you with their special sweet, Gaz. So, just embrace this Iranian culture and enjoy every second of it. We all wish you a happy Nowruz or as Iranians say, “Nowruz Mobarak”.