For many Iranian-Americans, Nowruz is a time of celebration, spring and fertility. It is also a time of letting go of any negativity, and starting fresh, with a sense of hope and new life. Nowruz also has some ancient folkloric rituals, including creating a Haftseen–which literally means the Seven S’s in Farsi.
All of the items have symbolic representation for the coming year; for example, Sabzeh (wheat or lentil sprout growing in a dish) symbolizes rebirth. The rest of the items include Samanu (sweet pudding from wheat germ representing affluence), Senjeh (dried silverberry for love), Sir (garlic for medicine), Sib (apples for beauty and health), Sumac (a dried Persian spice for the color of sunrise), Serkeh (vinegar for patience), Sonbol (Hyacinth flower for spring), and sekkeh, or coins, for prosperity.
Families often include colored eggs, goldfish, as well as a book of poetry from Hafiz; an ancient mystical poet who lived in Shiraz, Iran, (the town where I was born).
Ritual can give us a sense of comfort and stability; and at this time, where we have become still and are forced to hit pause on our daily routine, creating a spring altar can help us stay focused and present in the moment.
It could be difficult this year amidst the pandemic to celebrate the spring, however, as I write this, I can hear the birds outside my window, reminding me spring is almost here.
Some helpful links on Nowruz and print out for coloring in a Haftseen:
The story of Nowruz (fun videos):
Cherry Blossom Festival:
Garden Count Coloring Sheets:
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