Wednesday 21 March 2018

Navroze ~ Persian New Year

                                                              March 2022

Navroze, or "New Day" in Farsi, marks the first day of the Spring Equinox for the Northern Hemisphere, which falls on March 20th or 21st each year. It reminds us that the cold is coming to an end and it's time to cleanse our homes that have remained closed over the winter. It's a new year to start afresh. The occasion is celebrated with friends, families, and neighbours, sharing what we are fortunate enough to have with others. Navroze is a celebration of good health, happiness, and prosperity, thought to be celebrated by over 190 million people worldwide, particularly those from the Middle East and Central and South Asia.
The Haftseen table is a symbolic tribute to the seven creations of the universe: fire, water, air, earth, metal, and the plant and animal kingdom. It thanks the universe for what we have and prays for continuity in the days to come. It is named Haftsheen or Haftseen, and it includes seven items beginning with the sound 'S' or 'Sh' placed on a table alongside other symbols. 
Zoroastrians also associate the number 7 with their seven amesha spentas—angels.
Sumac (a berry powder) represents the sunrise and the spice of life.
Semanu-sweet semolina pudding for the sweetness of life
The seb-apple represents health and beauty.
Sabzi greens represent life and rebirth.
Seer-garlic, representing health
Sumbul-hyacinth, or the advent of spring
Serkeh: vinegar, representing age and patience. 
In addition to these items, the table usually also features candles (shama is the light to life), a mirror (sheesha) to reflect the sky and make a wish for yourself, coins (sikah) for prosperity, flowers (plant life), painted eggs (for fertility), nuts and dry fruit (for age), and gold fish for the end of the astrological calendar Pisces and the movement in our lives. senjed-olives, representing love in our lives. 
Originating in the Persian Empire centuries ago when King Jamshed the Great declared this day as Jamshedi Navroze, the table continues to be a tradition in modern-day Iran and other Middle Eastern, Central, and South Asian countries, and, of course, amongst their diaspora around the world.  
The table and its offerings are a celebration of life. A thanksgiving for the abundant creations of nature and the universe, and a reflection on and appreciation of the beauty of all things around us.The Western world, in its own small way of recognition, has declared this date as Poetry Day and United Nations Day. Some refer to it as the International Day of Happiness. 

I am guessing this date is not quite the same for people in the Southern Hemisphere, where it is the Autumnal Equinox. But, hey, you can't possibly have it all. There is always an exception to every rule.

March 2018


My HaftSheen Table with the sharab/wine was for entertainment; siir/seer, which is garlic; sikka the coin represents wealth and prosperity; saeb the apple, health and beauty; sonbol the hyacinth plant, life and the advent of spring; rosewater, While the mirror reflects creation and remembering to look at oneself and smile while making a wish for the upcoming year. The prayer book and candles were placed for each member of the family. 
The milk was placed for nourishment, often interchanged with the pudding, while a box or a shemshad represented wealth. A goldfish (Pisces) placed in a bowl of water represented the end of our astrological year . In ancient Persia, people also floated an orange in a bowl to represent the earth as part of the universe. 


It has been centuries since the advent of spring was marked universally. 
After all, it's a celebration where we are thankful for all "life'' ;animals, plants and ourselves. It respects the elements of our planet; air, wind, water, fire, and metal. Come join in by preparing a feast for the family or simply sharing a meal with your neighbour. A gesture of kindness and some zest for life has never hurt anyone. Be blessed.

A program called 'sharing and caring' has been set up to create an awareness of our heritage and traditions.  Preparing home made sweets to share with neighbours.

My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.

Navroze 2019

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