Norouz: Celebrating New Beginnings, Spring, and Renewal in Iran 🌳

Norouz: Celebrating New Beginnings, Spring, and Renewal in Iran 🌳

 Hi my sweet friends

 

There’s a lovely saying that is “the way you are at the time of the Persian New Year countdown, is the way you will be for the rest of the year”. So, we surround ourselves with our closest, and have faith that the day of love and laughter stretches across the whole year

Norouz, which means "new day" in Persian, is one of the most important and beloved holidays in Iran. It’s celebrated on the Spring Equinox, and it marks the beginning of spring and the start of a new year in the Persian calendar. Norouz is a time for family, friends, and communities to come together, share joy and gratitude, and welcome the renewal of nature and life.

The preparations for Norouz usually start weeks before the actual holiday. Iranians clean their homes thoroughly, buy new clothes, and decorate their houses with flowers, colorful carpets, and traditional symbols of Norouz such as the haft-sin. If you're ever in Iran in the run-up to Norouz, you'll see pure pandemonium as people rush to get all these items - it's like a national sport!

Haft Sin is a traditional and symbolic table setting arrangement of seven items that begin with the Persian letter "sin" (س), hence the name Haft Sin, which means "seven S's." Each item in Haft Sin represents a different aspect of Iranian culture and symbolizes a hope or wish for the new year. The seven items are typically:

  1. Sabzeh (wheat, barely, or lentils that you grow for a few weeks in advance) – rebirth and renewal of nature
  2. Seeb (apples)  beauty and love
  3. Senjed (dried oleaster berries)  wisdom and rebirth
  4. Samanu (wheat germ pudding) – strength and justice
  5. Somaq (sumac) – the colour of sunrise and the victory of good over evil
  6. Serkeh (vinegar)  patience and old age
  7. Seer (garlic)  health and medicine

Some people also have:

  • Ayne (mirror)  reflection, the heavens
  • Sekeh (coins)  wealth
  • Tokhme morgh (coloured eggs)  fertility
  • Mahi ghermez (goldfish in a bowl) – life (in recent years, some families put an orange in water instead)
  • Divan-e Hafez (book by the famous Persian poet, Hafez) 

 

Some people also add other symbolic items to their Haft Sin, such as a mirror (to reflect on the past year and the future), candles (to represent enlightenment), and goldfish (to represent life and the element of water).

You can take a look at my humble Haft Sin below:

 Norouz, Nowruz, Norooz, Iranian new year, Persian new year

People can really go all out when it comes to their table setting, and these can be such a huge source of pride! But the Haft Sin is not only a beautiful and colourful decoration; it’s also an intentional gratitude practice - Iranians are expressing their gratitude for the blessings of nature and life, and their hope for a happy new year.

My gratitude for nature is exactly the biggest reason that NATURE is the name of my newest art collection!

On the eve of Norouz, Iranians usually gather around a haft-sin table with their families, recite prayers or poems, and exchange gifts and sweets as they wait for the countdown on TV. On the following day, people visit their relatives and friends, especially the elderly and the sick, and offer them gifts and well wishes for the new year. Another popular tradition during Norouz is giving eidi, which is a small amount of money that adults give to children as a token of love and blessings.

 

I hope this little snippet of Norouz was interesting to you. And from my loved ones to yours, happy Norouz, happy Spring, and have a beautiful year ahead!

 

Love,

Affie

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