Iranian Americans Celebrate Nowruz
Today marks the beginning of the Persian New Year, otherwise known as Nowruz. As families in Iran gather together to celebrate this special holiday, more than 500,000 Iranian Americans are joining in on the festivities.
In Farsi, Nowruz simply means “new day.” Unlike the traditional New Year celebration here in the U.S., the countdown to Nowruz doesn’t happen at midnight. According to the Persian calendar, their new year just so happens to fall at the exact same time of the spring equinox.
This joyous occasion is characterized by many interesting and unique rituals, including hopping over a bonfire, giving out money, and devouring a variety of delectable Persian dishes. Whether you’re craving some flavorful Kookoo sabzi or a soothing bowl of Asheh reshteh soup, you’ll never leave the table hungry!
As the new year approaches, Persians also create elaborate “haft seens” in their homes. Filled with vibrant colors and symbolic items, these fancy table displays are designed to epitomize wealth, fertility, rebirth, and new life. Here, you will find seven different objects with names beginning in the letter “s.” For example, “sabzeh,” or lentil sprouts, are included on the table to represent the concept of rebirth. Colored eggs, coins, and goldfish are just a few more things that you’ll find in a “haft seen.”
Last but not least, Persian families look forward to getting rid of any bad vibes or memories from the past year during the Chaharshanbe suri event. Once the bonfire is set up, people line up and anxiously await their turn to jump over the flames. Aside from being a fun event for kids and adults alike, this cultural tradition was started as an act of purification before the new year.
Happy Nowruz to all of our Persian readers!