March 20th, 2013 Sal-E-Tahvil (Start of Nowruz)
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History of Nowruz
The Iranian New Year; Nowruz, (means New Day), is a celebration of spring Equinox. It is the most cherished of all the Iranian festivals and is celebrated by all. This occasion has been renowned in one form or another by all the major cultures of ancient Mesopotamia. What we have today as Nowruz with its uniquely Iranian characteristics has been celebrated for at least 2,500 years and is deeply rooted in the rituals and traditions of the Zoroastrian belief system of the Sasanian period (3rd-7th century AD). This was the religion of Ancient Persia before the advent of Islam in the 7th century AD. The familiar concepts of Hell, Heaven, Resurrection, the coming of the Messiah, individual and last judgment were incorporated for the first time into this belief system. They still exist in Judo-Christian and Islamic traditions.
Haft-Sin Table (Traditional Nowruz Table Spread)
A few days prior to the New Year, a special cover is spread on to the Persian carpet or on a table in every Persian household. This ceremonial table is called cloth of seven dishes, (each one beginning with the Persian letter cinn). The number seven has been sacred in Iran since the ancient times, and the seven dishes stand for the seven angelic heralds of life-rebirth, health, happiness, prosperity, joy, patience, and beauty.
The symbolic dishes consist of:
- Sabzeh or sprouts, usually wheat or lentil representing rebirth.
- Samanu is a pudding in which common wheat sprouts are transformed and given new life as a sweet, creamy pudding and represents the ultimate sophistication of Persian cooking.
- Seeb means apple and represents health and beauty.
- Senjed the sweet, dry fruit of the Lotus tree, represents love. It has been said that when lotus tree is in full bloom, its fragrance and its fruit make people fall in love and become oblivious to all else.
- Seer which is garlic in Persian, represents medicine.
- Somaq sumac berries, represent the color of sunrise; with the appearance of the sun Good conquers Evil.
- Serkeh or vinegar, represents age and patience.
It is also common to include a goldfish bowl, mirror and plants on the table.
Specialty Persian Deserts and Drinks
Popular Nowruz Songs