My thoughts and experiences on food and wine and other things

Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

Nowrūz , the Persian New Year

In Food, Travel on March 22, 2011 at 00:16

After 3000 years of celebration, Nowrūz or “New Light” marks once more the first day of spring and the beginning of the Iranian Calendar. Celebrated on the very first day of the vernal equinox (Spring) it is the holiest of the Zoroastrian Festivals. It is on this specific day that the sun is looking directly at the equator and that its sunray are evenly caressing the North and the South Pole hemispheres simultaneously.

Presents were brought to the Shahansha (King of Kings) by the various Persian Empire Kings. Nowaday , gifts are exchanged between youngsters of the family and the elders or the most senior, a mutual respect is being shown amongst families and traditions are followed meticulously were teas are served along with the various and most crumbling and delicious rice flour biscuits, flavoured with orange water and often garnished with pistachio, dates and nuts in abundance as many dried fruits . Being considered as the “Rebirth of Nature” , house are spring cleaned , Hyacinth and Tulips are brought in to decorate interiors and tables are set with tradition or symbolism Haftseen or the seven S” were all seven specific items brought to decorate the table are starting with the letter S” (seen) from the Persian alphabet.

Sabzeh / Wheat,barley, mung bean or lentils sprouts growing in a dish – symbolising rebirth ,

Samanu / Sweet Pudding made from wheat germ – symbolising affluence

Senjed / Dried oleaster fruit – symbolising love

Sir / Garlic – symbolising medicine

Sib / Red Apples – symbolising beauty and health

Somāq / Sumac fruit – symbolising (the color of) Sunrise

Serkeh / Vinegar – symbolising Old Age and Patience

All items are being pre disposed as to an “offrande” to the divinity, reflection to our origins and as to the path we are all about to walk, a Gold Fish in a clear white bowl represents life and the end of the astral year associated with the constellation Pisces, a mirror to bring light & brightness into the New Year , poetry books for the blessings and faith , painted and decorated eggs for fertility ……all in a well related and arranged manner that we may only see and recognise in a believing culture, believing in good versus evil and the love of our family over any temptations placed before us.

Sabzi Polo is a cooked rice dish based on various herbs such as chives, coriander, dill , mint and tarragon , all chopped and added to the succulent light and fluffy basmati grain that accompanies fried white fish for the special occasion. Kookoo sabzi is a fresh herbs souffle and is being another dish served on this glorious day.

It is not without any good reason that in 2009  Nowrūz was officially registered on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Eid-eh Shoma Mobarak.

%d bloggers like this: