For the second time in three months: Biziklautak experiences another turn of the year! No, we are not insane; now that we are in Iran we are using the Persian calendar. So now we are in the XIVth, century, in 1393 to be more exact. This occasion is called Nouruz and it’s today!
Literally Nouruz means new day and it goes back several millennia back when the primitive, and later the Zoroastrians, celebrated the beginning of spring, so the start of the farming season.
Nowadays, here, like in many other places, they have lots of traditions to celebrate the New Year and they use lots of symbols that represent reborn, growth and luck. But what is unique is that most of the symbols were chosen alphabetically. That’s how we have the Haft Seen (the Seven S’s):
1- Sabzeh: wheat or lentil sprouts growing in a dish, this represent rebirth.
2- Samanu: sweet pudding made of wheat, represents affluence.
3- Senjed: dried olive fruit, for love.
4- Sir: garlic, for health.
5- Sib: apple, for beauty.
6- Somaq: sumac fruit. It represents sunrise
7- Sekeh*: coin, for wealth.
*In some places the seventh one is replaced with Serkeh (vinegar), for patience.
These are the ones everybody considers the original, but most people add other things to the table setting like mirrors, goldfish, painted eggs …
The days before Nouruz we saw all these items being sold everywhere and we had no clue what was going on, but when they told us it all make sense: it’s just like people going to buy red underwear to wear for New Year’s eve parties.
The pity is that the parties are done indoors and within the family, so we had no chance of witnessing them. Instead we camped next to the coast in the Persian Gulf and took it easy. 20 degrees at night, I guess we can’t complain!