~Song of Solomon 6:11
Nowruz mobarak to all my Iranian family and friends. My haft sin table is set, the sabzeh are grown and my hyacinth is blooming!
No, I'm not trying to be cryptic. In Iran (formerly Persia) the first day of Spring is their New Year. And to celebrate, they use many of the same symbols of Spring that we do here in America. Dyed eggs symbolize new life, apples symbolize good health, as does garlic and wine, gold coins represent the wish for prosperity, the mirror doubles all the good fortune, the spring flowers and green plants are for new growth. All these things and more are arranged to set a 'Haft Sin' table, which means ‘7 'S's’. Each of the 7 items start with the letter S, you see (although all of these below are usually included, as well as others).
sabzeh– wheat, barley or lentil sprouts growing in a dish
samanu– a sweet pudding made from wheat germ
senjed– the dried fruit of the oleaster tree
sonbol– the fragrant hyacinth flower
The rest is much like our new year, with a countdown, a feast and perhaps fireworks. Before Nowruz there is a kind of national 'spring cleaning' both physically and spiritually. People do a deep clean of the whole house, beating rugs and sweeping out the dust bunnies. On the Wednesday prior, there’s the Chahar Shambe Souri Festival where people get together and leap over 7 fires to symbolically repent and cleanse themselves of various vices. Then, 13 days after Nowruz, everyone packs up and heads out for a picnic. Personally, I've always thought that the first day of Spring makes a much better new year than January 1. And by the way, in Iran the new year is 1401!
I'll end with some words of wisdom from my dear, wise father-in-law:
No one can go back and make a new beginning, but anyone can start from now and make a happy course.
I hope you will have a year that starts Right and ends Happy.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, let all the earth rejoice at Your creation, especially those approaching Springtime. In these dangerous times of wars and rumors of war, help us to bridge cultures and customs with Your magnificent mercy, grace and love. Help us all to shine Your light around this glorious world of Yours. Amen.
Sad saal bey in saalha! (May there be 100 more joyous years),