Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Navroze ~ Persian New Year

Navroze 2019

March 2018

Navroze or "New Day" in Farsi marks the first day of the Spring Equinox for the Northern Hemisphere, which falls on March 20th/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 wintry days, a new year to start afresh. The occasion is celebrated with friends, families, and neighbours, sharing what we are forunate 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 by 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, the plant and animal kingdom. It thanks the universe for what we have and pray for continuity in the days to come. It is called Haftsheen or Haftseen, where 7 items start with the sound 'S' or 'Sh' are placed on the table alongside other symbols. 

Sumac - dried berry powder represents sunrise
Semanu - sweet semolina pudding 
Seb - apple representing health and beauty
Sabzi - greens or lentils representing life and rebirth
Seer - garlic representing health 
Senjed - olives representing love
Serkeh - vinegar representing age and patience

The table usually features candles, a mirror, coins, flowers, painted eggs, nuts and dry fruit, and gold fish in addition to the main 7 'S's.

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 and 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 International Day of Happiness.

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

My HaftSheen Table with the sharab/wine was for entertainment, siir which is garlic, sikka  which is the coin represents wealth, saeb the apple, sonbol the hyacinth plant life, rosewater, While the mirror reflects creation and remembering to look at one self and smile while making a wish for the upcoming year. The prayer book and candles placed for each member of the family.
Milk was placed for nourishment 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 bolw to represence the earth as part of the universe.


It has been centuries since the Advent of Spring was marked universally.
After all its a celebration where we are thankful for all "life'' ; animal, plant 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 living 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.

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