Norooz, which means ” New Day” is not only the beginning of New Year in the Solar Calendar, but also celebrate “Bahar” or Spring.
All Persians regardless of their religion, observe this day and it is a joyful occasion especially for boys and girls. Iran has 4 seasons, swept by cold winds and snow in the winter, romantic leave-falling in autumn, and intense heat in the summer. So spring with pleasant weather is a real event. The celebration lasts twelve days, but preparation begin about two months before.
All members of each family give their homes a through spring cleaning called “Khaneh Takani”. The children get new clothes, which they proudly display to their friends. before the new year begins, the special new year table is prepared. this table, which is called “Haft-Seen”, hold seven items all starting with the letter “S” in the Persian Language.
- SAMANOU: (A sweet creamy pudding made from essence of wheat sprouts, representing sweetness and persistency).
- SABZEH: (Sprouts usually wheat or lentil representing rebirth)
- SIB: (Apple which represents health and beauty)
- SENJED: (A Sweet, dry fruit the jujube which represents love and resistance)
- SEER: (Garlic representing medicine)
- SOMAGH: (Sumac berries represents the color of sunrise which, with its appearance, helps “Good” conquers “Evil”)
- SERKEH: (Vinegar representing age and patience)
Along with these seven items, the table is decorated with the Holy Book, a mirror, candles, decorated boiled eggs, and a bowl containing gold fish. Every family starts the new year by sitting around the “Seven S Table” (Haft-Seen). At the precise hour of the Equinox, family give gifts to the younger ones and all exchange wishes for health, happiness, and prosperity. Then visits are made to relatives and friends. A happy character called “HAJIFIROOZ”, with colorful clothes and a funny hat, sings, dances, and plays in his tamborine (DAYREH-ZANGI). While joking and teasing everybody in the streets, people enjoy and appreciate his entertainment.
The festivities continue for thirteen days and end with the entire country going on a picnic and enjoying the nature, and that is called SIZDEH-BEDAR. They throw the sprouted seeds (SABZEH) into running water and wish for everyone a year of health, happiness, and peace on earth.