Persian New Year, or Nowruz (pronounced no-rooz), is celebrated by millions of people worldwide of various religious and cultural backgrounds. The 3,000 year old celebration originated in Iran to mark the vernal equinox, when day and night are of equal length – in other words, the return of spring!
Nowruz, meaning new day in Persian, is a time of spring cleaning, spiritual reflection, and hope for the future. Although customs vary, common Nowruz traditions include house cleaning and decorating, street festivities and performances, as well as feasts, visits with friends and family, and gift exchanges.
The traditional centerpiece of Nowruz is the haft-sin table, which is arranged in the days leading up to the new year celebration. Haft-sin translates to seven S’s, which describes the seven customary items displayed on the Nowruz table:
Somagh (sumac) symbolizes the colour of the sunrise for a new day
Serkeh (vinegar) symbolizes age and patience
Senjed (dried fruit) symbolizes love
Samanoo (sweet pudding) symbolizes affluence and fertility
Sabzeh (sprouts or grass) symbolizes rebirth
Sib (apple) symbolizes health and beauty
Sir (garlic) symbolizes medicine
Nowruz is all about community, family, and the chance to begin anew. Let us all reflect on how we can better ourselves and our communities in this season of new beginnings!