Tag Archive | Nowruz

Nowruz Mubarak! (Happy Iranian New Year)

Haft sin

Haft sin

For those not familiar with Haft-Sin and it’s significance, Haft -Sin (seven “S’s”) symbolise important features celebrated at Iranian New Year and has its roots in Zoroastrianism. [Good thoughts, good words, good deeds]. I have included the following in my tableau this year;

Sonbol (hyacinths)- the coming of spring, Sir (garlic)- medicine, Sabzeh (green shoots)-new life and growth, Serkeh (vinegar)- old age and patience, Sib (apple)-beauty and health, Sekkeh (coins)- prosperity,  Somaq (dried)- colour of sunrise and just for good measure, Sekanjabin, a sweet mint syrup. All these are displayed against the backdrop of a mirror symbolizing the sky, truth and reflection and illuminated by lit candles representing enlightenment and happiness.

Happy New Year!

Pesach

MosesBeing married to an Iranian, I am gradually getting used to the various Islamic and Zorastranian festivals and celebrations, the latest being Nowruz or New Year which I wrote about last week.

I also have a number of Jewish friends and colleagues who will be celebrating the 7-8 day Festival of Pesach (Passover) from tomorrow and having watched a programme on the BBC today about Pesach and the Passover meal, Seder, it provided the inspiration behind this evening’s Blog.

Jews celebrate Pesach/Passover to commemorate their liberation from slavery in Pharaoh-ruled ancient Egypt.  One of the most memorable bible stories has to be from the Book of Exodus when Moses is chosen by God to lead the Israelite slaves out of Egypt and into Canaan. The parting of the Red Sea allowed the fleeing slaves to walk across unharmed and once safely through, the sea returned to close behind them drowning the pursuing Egyptian army.

I understand that “Passover” derives from tenth plague that God inflicted on the Egyptians before the Pharaoh would release the Israelite slaves.  The tenth plague was the sentence to death of Egyptian first-born children. To safeguard their children, the Israelites were told to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a sacrificed lamb so that when God saw this mark, his spirit would know to “pass over” these homes.

During the 7-8 days of the festival, no leavened bread is eaten and all traces of Chametz are removed by a thorough spring clean.

The Passover meal, or Seder, traditionally marks the beginning of the Passover celebrations and it was the TV programme earlier which focused on the importance of  Seder food and recipes that really caught my eye. Sadly, I can’t find the recipes used in today’s programme but there are plenty of Seder recipe suggestions on the internet so please do have a look as I’m sure you will be pleasantly surprised.

Passover recipes:

Allrecipes 

Food network

Veg Kitchen

Nowruz Mubarak!

Well, it’s that time of year again…Iranian New Year. Unfortunately I have instigated some bad planning this year and will be working in Scotland on New Year’s Day itself, but we will be celebrating properly with friends next Sunday. Something to look forward to during my week away.

Being away from tomorrow morning means that I have set the traditional Haft-Sin tableau a day early and my hyacinths (sonbol) are not quite ready but no doubt will flower beautifully in my absence.

For those not familiar with Haft-Sin and it’s significance, Haft -Sin (seven “S’s”) symbolise important features celebrated at Iranian New Year and has its roots in Zoroastrianism. [Good thoughts, good words, good deeds]. I have included the following in my tableau this year;

Sonbol (hyacinths)- the coming of spring, Sir (garlic)- medicine, Sabzeh (green shoots)-new life and growth, Serkeh (vinegar)- old age and patience, Sib (apple)-beauty and health, Sekkeh (coins)- prosperity,  Somaq (dried)- colour of sunrise and just for good measure, Sekanjabin, a sweet mint syrup. All these are displayed against the backdrop of a mirror symbolizing the sky, truth and reflection and illuminated by lit candles representing enlightenment and happiness. I have also included some decorated eggs (fertility and birth).

Happy  New Year  everyone!

Nowruz Mubarak!

Iranian New Year-Nowruz and new shoes

This year the Iranian New Year will be celebrated on 21 March, the first day of Spring. I need to start preparing this week so that we are ready and I can create my table display of the traditional “Haft Sin” (7  S’s) as best I can.

The traditional 7 S’s which are normally displayed are;

Sabzeh (greens)

Wheat, barley, mung bean or lentil sprouts growing in a dish – symbolising rebirth.

If I’m a bit late preparing I tend to make a flying visit to Tesco for some cress which is cheating but it looks very similar!

Samanu – sweet pudding made from wheat germ – symbolising affluence

This is something I don’t make- but will remember the horse which went round Esfahan Square last month as it’s name was Samanu!

Senjed (سنجد)- dried oleaster fruit – symbolising love

Oleaster fruit or Russian Olive. Mmmmm, may be difficult to get hold of.

Sir– garlic – symbolising medicine

Garlic-no problem and I will be able to dig some wild garlic from our garden.

Sib – apples – symbolising beauty and health

Rosy apples-plenty of these.

Somāq – sumac fruit – symbolising (the color of) sunrise

We don’t get the fruit over here but we get the dried herb which I always use instead.

Serkeh – vinegar – symbolising old-age and patience

This element becomes more significant as the years pass- Cannot be overlooked.

There are other “S’s” and symbols which I use and I often include a selection of the following:

Sonbol– the fragrant hyacinth flower – symbolising the coming of spring

Sekkeh– coins – symbolising prosperity

Lit candles symbolising enlightenment and happiness

A mirror

A bowl with goldfish symbolising life, and the constellation of Pisces which the Sun is leaving.

This is particularly meaningful for me as I am a Pisces and I am myself embarking on my “New year”.

Water with a bitter orange in it symbolising Earth “floating” in space

Rose water, used to cleanse in Islam before prayer and is also heavily prevalent in Iranian cuisine

A poetry book, such as the Shahnameh or the Divan of Hafez, or a religious text such as the Quran or the Bible.

BUT the biggest thrill for me and the best “S” in the dictionary is SHOES! It is tradition at Nowruz to have NEW SHOES! Whooooo………..off we go shopping. It’s traditional. It has to be done. I am such a good Iranian wife, it is necessary!

How fantastic is that!