Nowruz (also spelled Norooz) is the Persian New Year, the day that marks the beginning of spring on March 20th. It’s a celebration that dates back 3,000 years to the days of the Persian Empire. Every year Persians and Kurds celebrate the “new day” with fire-jumping, dinner parties, and bazaars.
Each household celebrates Nowruz in their own way, but all families agree to carry out the same tradition of “Haftseen” that translates to the “seven S’s”. Haftseen is basically the main decoration of the holiday, it’s a table setting that features a collection of items varying in presentation from family to family. All the Haftseen items start with the Persian letter for “S” that symbolizes all the hopes and wishes for the new years.
According to Nina, an Iranian journalist who wrote for the Washington Post explaining the Haftseen items: “Sabzeh is the sprout that grows to represent rebirth and renewal. Senjed, a sweet dried fruit, represents love. Seeb, an apple, is for beauty and health. Seer is garlic, medicinal in its properties. Samanu is a rich, sweet pudding, representing fertility and wealth. Serkeh, or vinegar, is for patience and the wisdom that comes with aging. Finally, sumac’s deep red color mirrors that of a sunrise, the start of a new day.”
However, this year’s Nowruz festivities were unfortunately canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. Iran, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Turkey are among the many countries that have been greatly affected by the virus. With more than 14,000 confirmed cases in Iran and nearly 900 deaths, a number that is quickly growing by the minute made it very difficult for local celebrations.
Since the beginning of March, many dancing events, and shopping markets were either canceled or postponed. Families who live apart had to cancel their annual reunion due to travel limitations and health concerns.
But, despite the current circumstances, most families have celebrated Nowruz low-key in their own houses with only their family members and close friends, we hope that you had a wonderful day and we wish you a very happy new year.