Wheat, lentils, garlic, apples, goldfish - what are you thankful for? Not only is today the first day of Spring, today is Norooz, the Persian New Year. As an Iranian American woman, I am very proud to say that I celebrate the Persian New Year.
As today is the first day of the March equinox, the origin of Norooz comes from the mythical Persian King, Jamshid who rightfully saved all of humanity by defeating Winter. Jamshid constructed a throne made out of gemstones where he had demons raise him above the earth, into the heavens where he sat shining ever so brightly like the sun. The entire world gathered around Jamshid, proclaiming that this was the first day of "Nowruz" or New Day. Norooz's origin comes from Zoroastrianism and Mithraism.
Spring cleaning and shopping are both two major activities Persians utilize before preparing for the new year. A clean house is highly auspicious. Decorating is also a must. And buying yourself a beautiful outfit represents change. In addition to cleaning and shopping, Persians are expected to make short visits to family and friends. Often times elders are visited first. Food is heavily embraced, as Persian tea, pastries and cookies are often served. Dried fruits are also part of this lifelong tradition.
Upon arrival of the Persian New Year, a haft sin table is prepared, as this table is deeply rooted with immense symbolism. A traditional haft sin table consists of Sabze, Samanu, Sumac, Vinegar, Apple, Garlic and Persian Olives. Additionally, it also includes a mirror, candles, eggs, coins, goldish and hyacinth as well as the traditional Persian sweets. A book of wisdom, primarily one of faith (Bible, Avesta, Quran, etc.) may also be placed on the haft sin table.
The sun, the moon, the star, the heart, the eye, the life. Today I am thankful, blessed, honored and grateful for everything in life. A new dawn, a new day, a new noon, a new sun, a new eve, a new night, a new sky, a new life. Nowruz Mobarak! Happy Norooz!