The last week has been a particularly busy one. I have had my new year to celebrate and my daughter’s birthday. She arrived 2 years ago on the day of the Persian New Year. She was about a week late! I had had my ‘show’ at work and was convinced that I was about to go into labour. My mum had come from Sydney to be with me, but little miss decided to be fashionably late. I awoke on the night of the Persian New Year with labour pains and there she was at 6:25 am 21 March 2011. This day was also the UAE Mother’s Day which meant I got lots of presents and visitors in the hospital.
I mention this day because not only does it have more significance to me now that my daughter is here, but also because it is something that I try to continue to celebrate in my life and is a cultural link for my children.
Eid e Norooz which literally means New Day, comes on the first day of the northern hemisphere spring and the moment of the spring equinox becomes the moment of the new year. It has been celebrated in ancient Iran for over 3000 years and is now recognised by the UN on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. I love this time of year. It means the end of winter and the start of spring. It means time with family and celebrating around the Sofreh Haft Sin which is the 7 things that start with the letter ‘s’ with each symbolising something.
Apple – Sib symbolises beauty and health
Garlic – Sir symbolises medecine
Wheat pudding – Samanu symbolises affluence
Vinegar – Serkeh symbolises wisdom and patience
Oleaster – Senject symbolises love
Sumac symbolises colour of sunrise
Sprouts – Sabzeh symbolises rebirth
Other things that usually included are a mirror, candles, decorated eggs and goldfish. I have been skipping the goldfish bit because they usually die and I feel terrible having a dead goldfish on my table. Not very auspicious I don’t think.
Unlike other holidays in Iran, this is not a religious one and is secular. I love that it is celebrated by all ethnic groups in the country and the different religions both in Iran and other neighbouring countries.
I enjoyed sharing this with my children this year. So to everyone, happy new year ‘Eid e norooz mobarak’1 hopefully the next year brings much joy, health, success and love.