Preparation for Nowruz: Persian New Year عید نوروز
Persian New Year, “Nowruz (or Noruz or Norooz)” نوروز is the first day of Spring, usually happening around 21st of March. But preparations for Nowruz in Iran, start weeks, and sometimes months ahead!
Here is a list of all the rituals in Iran to get ready for the arrival of Nowruz, Persian New Year:
Preparing Sofreh haft-sin سفره هفت سین for Persian New Year
Before the new year comes, families start preparing a special tabletop (sofreh سفره) displayed during the new year celebration. This is called “Sofreh.ye Haft.sin”. It literally means ‘seven S, because it includes seven symbolic items, all starting with the letter S (‘sin’ س.)
Sabzeh سبزه (Green) in preparation for Nowruz, Persian New Year
One of the first important things to prepare before the new Year is sabzeh سبزه (green). You should do this about a month in advance, so by the time the new year comes, it’s nice and green.
Although traditionally sabzeh is done with wheat, you can also use lentils.
The seven elements of sofreh haf-sin هفت سین (haft-sin table) are:
- سبزه sabzeh سبزه (green)
- سیب sib (apple)
- سیر sir (garlic)
- سمنو samanu (a Persian food)
- سماق somaagh (a Persian spice)
- سرکه serkeh (vinegar)
- سنجد senjed (oleaster)
To complete the tabletop, remember to prepare a clear bowl with goldfish (normally two).
Also, the presence of a beautiful hyacinth flower (sonbol سنبل) gives a touch of color and freshness to your table. Another tradition is to put some coins (seekeh سکه) on the table.
Notice that both “sonbol” سنبل (Hyacinth flower) and “sekkeh” سکه (coin) start with S, which can help reaching your seven S’s when one of the other elements is missing 🙂
Painting the Eggs for Haft-sin Table
A day or two before the new year, all family participate in a fun activity of painting the (boiled) eggs, typically one egg for every person. Any design or color is welcome. Normally each family member paint his/her own egg. Since children love this activity, they often end up painting the eggs for the whole the family 🙂
Khaneh Takaani خانه تکانی عید
Spring Deep cleaning in preparation for Nowruz, Persian New Year
Literally meaning “shaking the house,” khaneh takaani or “Khooneh Takooni” خونه تکونی begins in the weeks leading up to Nowruz. It’s very similar to the Spring deep cleaning in western traditions, only at a larger scale.
Every member of the family, even the children, participate in ‘khooneh takooni’ خونه تکونی by taking in a task.
Carpets are washed, furnitures are scrubbed, lamps are carefully dusted, closets and drawers are emptied in order to review, clean up, and throw away the old stuff.
‘khooneh takooni’ خونه تکونی is usually a fun and cooperative activity as you interact with the other family members. The result is a sparkling clean house where everything, inside and out, is in perfect order, and ready for the new
“Lebaas e Eid” لباس عید
Shopping for Nowruz clothing
Preparing sweets “shirini” شیرینی for the Persian New Year:
Making “Nowruz sweets” شیرینی نوروزی is common in most families. Each area has its own particular food and sweets.
In my city Shiraz for example, making “sohan asali” سوهان عسلی, a delicious delight made with honey and almonds/pistachios, is a common ritual.
Preparing Samanu سمنو for Persian New Year
Samanu سمنو is one of the main items on the Haft-Sin table. Wheat sprouts and flour are the main ingredients of samanu.
In many parts of Iran, family members and friends get together and cook samanu. However, in big cities, people just buy Samanu as it’s not so easy to make.
Eidy عیدی, gift in Persian New Year
As an adult, make sure to prepare freshly printed money to give away to children of the family! Right after the new Year, children or younger adults receive their ‘eidy’ عیدی (or ‘gift of the eid’) from parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts. ٍٍEidy عیدی is customarily in form of newly printed money. However, in recent and modern days it could be a regular rapped gift as well.