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Haft Sin
‘Haft Seen’ in Norouz Bazaar, Asia House/ London, designed by Mariam Mousavi, March 2015

Written by: Delaram Ghanimifard

The first day of spring, the 20th of March. The trees are in pink and white blossoms and daffodils’ scent fill the air. The Persian New Year has a sense of morning, the pleasant warmth of a spring sunshine. It has the sweet smell of flowers and blossoms.

As a child the excitement of the New Year came a week before Norouz (meaning the new day), when mum would wet a handful of wheat or lentil and cover them with a soft cloth. A week later the germinated sprouts were ready to go on the Haft Seen altar. They represented new life, harvest, and wealth. Then I had to help decorate the rest of the Haft Seen (Seven S). They are seven symbols of rebirth, life, spring, and prosperity. Apples, vinegar, sprouts, sumac, garlic, samanou (wheat pudding), and lotus fruit. Another exciting Norouz activity was colouring eggs to put on the Haft Seen table. We would also include a mirror, a Quran and a Hafez poem book, a bowl of water (sometimes with goldfish in it), and flowers.

The traditional dish of the New Year eve is rice with herbs (parsley, coriander, chives, garlic, dill) with fish, which also represents spring.

Equinox can happen anytime during the day or night. Sometimes we had to wake in the middle of the night and dress up and get ready at the altar. It is really important to be clean, awake and dressed up, as Iranians believe that if you sleep at the New Year moment, you will be sleepy all year round! We sat at the Haft Seen table and lit a candle and wait for the countdown into the new spring. The moment of the vernal equinox marked the New Year, when we exchanged kisses and gifts.

 

This year the spring equinox happens at 4.30 am on 20th March (GMT). Those who celebrate Norouz are awake and happy all over the world.

 

Norouz is full of joy and excitement. It’s a package of beautiful traditions. It celebrates life in its full sense, and accentuates the beauties of nature.

Happy Norouz to all who celebrate.

 

  • Watch and here this beautiful song by Samin Baghcheban: Norouz is coming

 

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