Sunday, March 25, 2012

Persian New Year, Spring Equinox, and Some Traditions...

Year Of The Dragon
Hi Everyone,

 The Afternoon of March 20th (13:14 Singapore time to be exact) marked the turn of a new year and the Spring Equinox thus marking the first day of the first month of the Persian Calendar.

"Norouz" meaning New Day, has been celebrated in Iran and some neighboring countries for over 2000 years as the beginning of spring and the hope for a new and better life in the coming year.

 The following section of Wikipedia on Noruz perfectly explains Haft Sīn, the traditional spread prepared  well in advance to celebrate the new year:

"Haft Sîn or the seven 'S's is a major traditional table setting of Noruz, the traditional Iranian spring celebration.Today the haft sin table includes seven specific items starting with the letter 'S' or Sīn (س) in the Persian alphabet. The seven elements of Life, namely Fire, Earth, Water, Air, Plants, Animals, and Human, are represented.
They also have Astrological correlations to five planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Sun and Moon. The Haft Sin has evolved over time, but has kept its symbolism. Traditionally, families attempt to set as beautiful a Haft Sīn table as they can, as it is not only of traditional and spiritual value, but also noticed by visitors during Noruz visitations and is a reflection of their good taste.

The original 7 items of haft-sin symbolized seven of the Zoroastrian yazatas such as ātar and asmān. The term was originally called haft-chin, to place seven. These items are Mirror symbolizing Sky, Apple symbolizing Earth, Candles symbolizing Fire, Golab rose water symbolizing Water, Sabzeh wheat, or barley sprouts symbolizing Plants, Goldfish symbolizing Animals, Painted Eggs symbolizing Humans and Fertility.

The Haft Sīn items are:
  • sabzeh - wheat, barley or lentil sprouts growing in a dish - symbolizing rebirth
  • samanu - a sweet pudding made from wheat germ - symbolizing affluence
  • senjed - the dried fruit of the oleaster tree - symbolizing love
  • sīr - garlic - symbolizing medicine
  • sīb - apples - symbolizing beauty and health
  • somaq - sumac berries - symbolizing (the color of) sunrise
  • serkeh - vinegar - symbolizing age and patience.
My Angry Bird Sabzeh <3
 Other items on the table may include:
  • Sonbol - Hyacinth (plant)
  • Sekkeh - Coins - representative of wealth
  • traditional Iranian pastries such as baghlava, toot, naan-nokhodchi
  • Aajeel - dried nuts, berries and raisins
  • lit candles (enlightenment and happiness)
  • a mirror (symbolizing cleanness and honesty)
  • decorated eggs, sometimes one for each member of the family (fertility)
  • a bowl of water with goldfish (life within life, and the sign of Pisces which the sun is leaving). As an essential object of the Noruz table, this goldfish is also "very ancient and meaningful" and with Zoroastrian connection.
  • rosewater, believed to have magical cleansing powers
  • the national colors, for a patriotic touch
  • a holy book (e.g., the Avesta, Qur'an,or Kitáb-i-Aqdas) and/or a poetry book (almost always either the Shahnameh or the Divan of Hafiz)"
This was our first Norouz together as a married couple, and even though away from home I had some trouble finding some of the S's, I still tried my best to put together a Haft Sin as pretty and complete as possible!

Our Haft-Sin
These are our painted/decorated eggs - Done by Moi!

Our Bad-ass Ninja Turtles Eggs - Done by Hubby!

Happy New Year Everyone! May this year bring us happiness, prosperity, health, wealth and peace!

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