It may have gone unnoticed by the majority but, as of early Sunday morning (4.30am GMT), it was Persian New Year.
Persia (Iran) is the place of my origin. And although my family and I left the country when I was a little girl and I have been brought up in, studied at and worked in several countries since, the Persian customs run deep and New Year is of particular importance in my calendar.
I’m going to tell you a bit about it because it does ring with so much positivity and hope and things we can all embrace.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
It is known as Nowruz which translates as ‘New Day’ and it has been celebrated for over 3,000 years.
It also marks the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere. It is a holy day for Zoroastrians but is still very much celebrated by those from other faiths and people who follow no religion.
The actual moment is marked by the precise time the sun crosses the celestial equator equalising night and day and this time is changeable. For example yesterday morning it was at 4.30am (GMT).
This makes for very late and long celebration nights which can be hard enough as an adult but I remember my mother keeping us kids up until all hours to see in Nowruz!
Something that I recall as far back as being a tiny little girl in Persia is ‘haftsin’.This is a traditional table top arrangement that we’d put out at at Nowruz.
There are always seven key elements of this arrangement and each one of them begins with the letter S. All seven stands for something specific.
So we have the following :
1. Sabzeh – wheat, barley, mung bean or lentil sprouts growing in a dish – symbolizing rebirth
2. Samanu – sweet pudding made from wheat germ – symbolizing affluence
3. Senjed – dried oleaster Wild Olive fruit – symbolizing love
4. Seer – garlic – symbolizing the medicine and health
5. Seeb – apple – symbolizing beauty
6. Somāq – sumac fruit – symbolizing (the color of) sunrise
7. Serkeh – vinegar – symbolizing old-age and patience
Added to these, other items are also placed on the table. These are not the main aspect of the arrangement and not as significant as the seven listed above but they do ‘complete the set’.
These additional items all have a symbolic purpose and are made up of:
– Divan-e Hafez, a Persian poetry book
– a mirror
– a goldfish in a bowl represents life and the end of astral year-picas (Goldfish is originally a symbol Chinese new year)
– a low brazier full of fire
– a lamp
– sprays of cypress or pine
– painted eggs
– coins as a symbol of wealth
– candles for each member of the family
– a bowl of water
– wheat or bread
So it takes little imagination to realise that if you do complete the full haftsin table – it is something quite spectacular. You also need a good sized table!
So I wish each and everyone a very Happy Nowruz and I hope the year brings you much, health, prosperity and happiness.
It is always great to have excused to celebrate – and Saturday night/Sunday morning was a lot of fun – but remember that every day is a New Day and we always have the opportunity to make them productive, exciting, energising, positive and caring.
Create your own reasons to celebrate each and every day of your life! Happy Nowruz!
Connect with the CEO of WatchFit Parisa Louie.
Lead image photo credit: TurmericSaffron