What happens on the Persian New Year 2024?

Persian Culture

Spring’s Arrival and Renewal: Celebrating Nowruz, the Persian New Year 2024.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 20th, at 3:06 a.m., millions of Persians worldwide will celebrate spring’s arrival. This ancient celebration is marked by the joyous festival of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, and has enormous cultural significance worldwide. It is filled with symbolic rituals, delicious foods, and ‘meh-moonies’, aka gatherings with loved ones, all coming together with vibrant traditions and a shared spirit of renewal.

Haft Sin

One of my favourite parts of Nowruz is the Haft Sin[1] (literally “Seven S’s”). Traditionally set up on a tablecloth or spread, this beautiful display features seven symbolic items whose names begin with the letter “seen” (س) in the Persian alphabet. Far beyond just decoration, each item in the Haft Sin carries a specific meaning, reflecting the hopes and aspirations for the coming year.

What Are The Meanings Of The Haft Sin 

Seven has always been a special number to me. I was born on the 7th, and I always found comfort in expertly displaying the seven essential elements of the Haft Sin as my mum would recount the symbolism behind each. Years later, with my newfound knowledge of Traditional Persian Medicine, the seven elements hold a much deeper spiritual meaning.

  1. Sabzeh (سبزه): Sprouted Seeds

Symbolism: Representing rebirth and the fresh start of spring, Sabzeh[1] typically features sprouted wheat, barley, or lentil seeds. These vibrant green shoots embody nature’s awakening and the promise of new life.

TPM Connection: The concept of mizaj (temperament)[2] plays a crucial role in TPM. Spring is considered a time of * اعتدال بهاری (external-e Bahari)* or “balanced springtime,” where the body finds a natural equilibrium. Sabzeh, with its association with new beginnings, resonates with this concept of achieving balance and harmony within oneself.

  1. Samanu (سمنو): Wheat Pudding

Symbolism: Samanu is a sweet pudding made from germinated wheat. Its rich texture and taste represent strength, prosperity, and the sweetness of life.

TPM Connection: Traditionally, Samanu was well prepared before Nowruz, which requires patience and dedication. This process aligns with the TPM principle of sabr (patience), which is seen as a critical factor in maintaining good health and well-being.

  1. Senjed (سنجد): Dried Lotus Fruit

Symbolism: Senjed, with its wrinkled exterior and sweet, edible core, symbolises love and romance. The contrasting appearance is believed to represent love’s complexities and enduring nature.

 

  1. Somaq (سماق): Sumac

Symbolism: Sumac, a tangy spice made from dried sumac berries, represents the colour of sunrise and the sourness of life’s experiences. It reminds us to embrace the joys and challenges life throws our way.  Sumac has many anti-inflammatory[3] properties, so it is often used in TPM to support digestion.

  1. Serkeh (سرکه): Vinegar

Symbolism: With its sharp and enduring taste, Vinegar symbolises patience and perseverance in facing life’s difficulties. It serves as a reminder that overcoming challenges strengthens our resolve.

6. Sir (سیر): Garlic

Symbolism: With its pungent aroma and medicinal properties, garlic represents protection against evil and illness in TPM. Its inclusion highlights the importance of preventative health measures and a strong immune system.

   7. Seeb (سیب): Apple

Symbolism: Universally recognised as a symbol of health and beauty, the apple represents good health, vitality, and youthful energy. Its presence on the Haft Sin reflects a wish for a year filled with well-being.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfWr2yTw4pM

[2] https://www.britannica.com/science/mizaj

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9104352/

[1] https://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/haft-sin

When displayed together, the Haft Sin creates a visually stunning and meaningful centrepiece for Nowruz celebrations. Each element plays its part, reminding us of the interconnectedness of life’s elements – the hope of new beginnings, the sweetness of success, the strength of love, the balance of joy and hardship, and the importance of health and resilience. By incorporating these symbolic items, the Haft Sin allows us to reflect on the past year and embrace the possibilities of the year to come.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy Nowruz

Sherry x

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