(Shiraz; December 31st, 2015) How strange could this get…December 31st: sitting at a nice restaurant, ready to celebrate New Year’s Eve. The clock strikes 00:00 and ….nothing happens: No fireworks, no bliss, no kissing and wishing around! Just an ordinary night. Iranians do not celebrate New Year’s Eve on the 31st of December! They celebrate it on the 21st of March instead! Nowruz (Persian: نوروز , literally “New Day”) is the name of the Iranian New Year. It is of Zoroastrian origin, it has been celebrated over the last 3,000 years and it is the day of the vernal equinox that marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
Tonight is the night and it is the Iranian New Year’s Eve. The traditional New Year’s Eve dinner is called Haft-Seen. The primary Haft-Seen items on the table are:
- Sabzeh (سبزه) –wheat, barley, mung bean or lentil sprouts growing in a dish – symbolizing rebirth
- Samanu(سمنو) –sweet pudding – symbolizing affluence
- Senjed(سنجد) – dried Persian Olive – symbolizing love
- Seer(سیر) – garlic – symbolizing the medicine and health
- Seeb(سیب) – apple – symbolizing beauty
- Somaq(سماق) – sumac fruit – symbolizing (the color of) sunrise
- Serken(سرکه) – vinegar – symbolizing old age and patience
The following items may also appear on the table as ornaments or for the sake of completeness.
- A holy book, usually the Holy Qur’an
- Divan-e Hafez, a Persian poetry book
- a mirror, represents creation
- a goldfish in a bowl represents life
- a low brazier full of fire
- a lamp
- sprays of cypress or pine
- painted eggs
- coins as a symbol of wealth
- candles for each member of the family
- a bowl of water
- wheat or bread
By the way! The Year tonight is…1396!!