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Persian New Year Celebrations, "Nowrūz" & Haft-Seen

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Nesa Nazemigharehbagh

on 18 March 2013

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Transcript of Persian New Year Celebrations, "Nowrūz" & Haft-Seen

In harmony with the rebirth of nature, the Persian New Year Celebration, or Nowruz, always begins on the first day of spring.

The first day of spring is the beginning of the year in Iranian calendar. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed.

The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year and Iranian families gather together to observe the rituals.

Norooz ceremonies are symbolic representations of two ancient concepts - the End and the Rebirth; or Good and Evil. Nowruz [or Norooz, pronounced NO-ROOZ] in Persian means "New-day". Nowruz with its uniquely Iranian characteristics has been celebrated for at least 3,000 years and is deeply rooted in the rituals and traditions of the Zoroastrian (This was the religion of ancient Persia before the advent of Islam in 7th century A.D.).
- Spring-cleaning:

In parallel with the rebirth of nature, extensive spring-cleaning is a national tradition observed in almost every household in Iran. This is also extended to every persons attire.

New Year, New Clothes:

- It is customary to buy at least one set of new clothes before Nowruz.

Renewal in nature, Renewal in relationships:

- On the New Year's day, families dress in their new clothes and start the twelve-day celebrations by visiting the elders of their family, then the rest of their family and finally their friends. These house visits are usually reciprocated and gifts are exchanged.

On the thirteenth day families leave their homes and picnic outdoors. But a major part of New Year rituals is setting the "Haft Seen" with seven specific items. Noruwz Traditions, Spirit of Renewal: Iranians consider Nowruz as their biggest celebration of the year. Haft-Seen (7-Seen or 7-S's)
Today, the tradition is continued through the setting of the table or spread with an arrangement of several items of which seven of them start with the Persian letter "Seen" (in English S).


The Persian translation for number seven is "Haft", hence, "Haft Seen" means "Seven S's". What Do we put on 7-seen table?
The seven items should:

1. Be Persian
2. Start with letter S (seen)
3. Be edible
4. Be plant-based (with vegetable/herbal origin)
5. Be good and healthy for your body
6. Not be a compound noun

So, there are only 7 things in Persian that each has the all above characteristics together.

What are they? Next slides are talking about Haft-seen items: - Wheat, barley, or lentil sprouts growing in a dish.

Symbolizing rebirth & renewal. Sabzeh Seeb - Which means apple in Persian.

Symbolizing beauty and health. Serkeh - Which means vinegar in Persian.


Symbolizing age and patience. Samanu - A sweet pudding made from wheat germ.

Symbolizing affluence & abundance. Senjed - The dried fruit of the lotus tree.

Symbolizing love. Seer - Which means garlic in Persian.

Symbolizing medicine and health. Somaq - Sumac berries.

Symbolizing the colour of the sunrise (with the appearance of the sun Good conquers Evil). Sabzeh, Serkeh, Seeb, Seer, Samanu, Somaq & Senjed. So, Haft-Seen items (7-S's) are: What else we put on the Haft-Seen table? Sonbol - The hyacinth flower with its strong fragrance heralding the coming of Spring. Coins - Symbolizing prosperity and wealth. What Else? Shirini - Sugar cookies and pastries,
Candles - representing enlightenment and happiness,
Mirror - representing the reflections of creation on the first day of spring,
Painted eggs - representing fertility,
A bowl with goldfish - representing life,
A copy of the Holy Qoran and Divan-e Hafez
A bowl of water with an orange in it symbolising Earth "floating" in space
AĀjeel - dried nuts, berries and raisins http://www.dusharm.com/content/view/39/1/ http://turmericsaffron.blogspot.com/2010_03_22_archive.html http://hamsare-mosafer.blogspot.com/2010/03/sofreh-haft-seen.html Haji Firuz
The Herald of Iranian New-Year The most famous among the traditional folk entertainers, who appears in the Persian streets in the days preceding Nowruz. The Hâji Firuz entertains passers-by by singing traditional songs and dancing and playing his tambourine for a few coins. He rarely knocks on a door, but begins his performance as soon as the door is opened.

Hâji Firuz blackens his face (there is no racial implications), wears very colorful clothes, usually—but not always—red, and always a hat that is sometimes long and cone-shaped. His songs, quite traditional in wording and melody, are very short repetitive ditties. Sizdah Bedar
- The Day 13 Outing "Sizdah Bedar" is the last holiday of the long Nowruz break and is a day filled with relaxation and fun outdoors.

"Sizdah" means 13 and "Bedar" means away or out.

Iranians consider 13 to be an unlucky number and so for this reason, they spend the 13th day of the New Year outside the home. Seezdah-Bedar is in essence a national picnic that is celebrated with everyone going to parks, hills and mountainsides to spend the day with nature, wishing the evil spirits away. http://www.panoramio.com/photo/2197039 For example if a young girl wishes to find a husband in the coming year she will tie grass and chant “Seezdah Bedar Sale degar, khune-ye shuhar”. This rhyme literally means, “Next seezdah bedar, I will be at my husband’s home”! There are various chants for people who wish to get a job or be healthy or wealthy and so on. Happy Nowruz!
Happy Persian New Year! I wish happiness, peace, prosperity, love, blessings, enlightenment and healing to the people of my country living in the borders of Caspian lake in the North to the South, the beaches of Persian Gulf and all through the West and East of Iran for the coming year. May God bless the world with joy, peace and with understanding among people of diffirent countries and cultures in the coming year. Iranian friends,

Please spread the link of presentation with email, share it on your facebook wall, in your blog or in your reader. Introduce Nowruz tradition to other cultures. Created by Nesa Nazemi, Nowruz 1390 (March 2011) - USA

If you have comments or questions please contact me at salbinaz@gmail.com http://www.backupflow.com/g.htm?id=13006 By master Mohammad-Reza Shajarian http://www.4shared.com/audio/hgcEpUuG/Farhad_Mehrad___Booye_Eidi_.html By Farhad Mehrad This online presentation is a breif introduction to how we celeberate Persian New Year, in Iran. I recommend listening to the following Persian music (both with a theme of Persian New Year celebrations) while watching the slides! Now, some pictures to show how different Haft-seen settings may look like: And who spreads good cheer and the news of the coming New Year? Sizdah Bedar is a big day of hope, and people who wish for things follow the tradition of tying "Sabzeh" (the sprouts they grow for 7-S's table) together. At the end of this day, the haft-seen may be cleared away and families return to work. At the announcement of Persian New Year, all family members sit around haft-seen table and pray for each others' good health and prosperity. Then they hug and kiss each other. Special meal is eaten by all the family members sitting together. It includes sabzi polo (rice with vegetables), fish and kuku sabzi (herb quiche). Iranian new year does not start at midnight.

Each year beginning of the new year is precisely (hour, minute and second) determined by astronomical observations according to the vernal equinox.
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