New Year in Spring? Wasn’t that in January?
Spring signals renewal and rebirth, hence it signals the new year for many Persians and Indians. These two rich cultures incorporate many symbolic rituals into their New Year celebrations. I am lucky enough to be a part of both! Read on to find out how we celebrate and how you can join in on the fun!
This holiday originated in India and is celebrated worldwide. It is all about color and bringing those vibrant colors with you into the new year. Celebrated on the first full moon of March (3/9), children and adults alike throw colors on each other to bring good luck and prosperity. The more color you have, the better! The night before, fires are lit with chanting driving out evil and ushering in good. Sweets are made and shared with family members and neighbors alike. Growing up in our culture, this was one of my favorite holidays! I mean any day you can run around and splash colors on people is a great day in my book!
Another spring New Year is Nowruz. We celebrate on the first day of spring technically, but in reality, Persians and many other ethnicities celebrate over many, many days. The eve of Wednesday before the new year is ushered in, we have a gathering of family and friends where we jump over fire! (Yup, you read that right!) Everyone and I mean everyone from all ages, jump over the fire and say “take away our sickly yellow and give us your vibrant red.” On the actual first day of spring, families gather together to marvel at the beautiful haft-sin that has been created and eat fish and herb rice.
Now, what exactly is a haft-sin? It’s an elaborate table set up with various “S” items representing different things to ensure your new year will be amazing! They include Sabzeh (wheatgrass grown in a dish representing growth), Samanu (sweet pudding made from wheat germ representing the ability of always having food), Senjed (silverberry representing love), Serkeh (vinegar representing wisdom), Seeb (apple representing beauty and fertility), Seer (garlic for warding off disease) and Sumac. Add a mirror, a living fish, and some colored eggs and the haft-sin is complete!
Whatever you do to celebrate spring, we wish you a season of prosperity and growth!