Hi my sweet friends
Okay, we’re onto the final blog entry on the Persian New Year!
- On 14 March, I told you about Chahar Shanbe Soori (Fire Wednesday)
- On 20 March, I told you about Norouz (New Day; the New Year)
- And today, I’ll tell you about Sizdah Bedar (The 13th day of the New Year)
Sizdah Bedar is a traditional festival that takes place on the 13th day of the Persian New Year. It's also known as "Nature's Day" and is celebrated by spending the day outdoors with friends and family, enjoying picnics, games, and other fun activities
Sizdah Bedar dates back to ancient Persia, where it was believed that spending time outdoors on the 13th day of the new year would ward off bad luck and bring good fortune for the rest of the year. We still celebrate today with the same enthusiasm, as we gather in parks, gardens, and other green spaces to soak up the sun and enjoy the beauty of nature
One of the most popular activities is a picnic, where families and friends gather to share food, drink, and conversation. Traditionally, we eat sabzi polo ba mahi (herbed rice with fish), kuku sabzi (a herby frittata), and ash-e reshteh (a hearty noodle soup). Then we wash it down with a lot of tea, alongside sweets, such as baklava, shirini keshmeshi (raisin cookies), and faludeh (a frozen dessert made with vermicelli noodles and rose water)
Today is also a day filled with games and outdoor activities. People often play games like tug-of-war, sack races, and they fly kites. Some people also bring musical instruments and dance or sing together in the park
Do you remember the Haft Sin (the table arrangement from Norouz)? On our table, we had sabzeh (sprouted greens) to represent rebirth and the renewal of nature. On this day, people take their sabzeh with them and throw it into a nearby stream or river, symbolically releasing the bad luck of the past year and welcoming the new year with hope. Doing this is also seen as a way to return the sprouts to nature and thanking the earth for all of its generous gifts
One day, I will walk along the River Thames and count how many sabzeh I see... won't that be a photo worth sharing?!
Finally, another interesting tradition is tying knots in grass or wildflowers. This is known as "Gereh-goshai" and is a way for people to make wishes for the coming year. People tie a knot in a strand of grass or wildflower and make a wish. According to tradition, the knot must be tied with a specific number of loops, depending on the wish. For example, if the wish is for wealth and prosperity, the knot should be tied with seven loops. If the wish is for good health, it should be tied with three loops. After tying the knot, the person throws the grass or flower into a nearby stream or river, releasing the wish and sending it off to the heavens. It’s so beautiful how this connects people to nature and to the power of their own hopes and dreams.
Hopefully you have an idea now about why Sizdah Bedar is such a cherished tradition in Iran, and a great opportunity to get outside, enjoy the sunshine, and have some fun with your friends and family!
Let me know in the comments below – did you find this interesting?