Corner Grill Family
Mar. 16th, 2022
Nowruz Mobarak! Happy Persian New Year! Nowruz, the start to the Persian New Year will be this Sunday! Now is a great time to gather with family and friends and eat great Persian food!
You don’t have to be Persian to celebrate, click here to learn more about the largest Persian festival.
Nowruz, the Persian New Year, is one of the most important festivals in Persian culture, but you don’t have to be Persian to celebrate it! There are celebrations and practices leading up to Nowruz, as well as many festivities following it. Today marks the arrival of Chaharshanbe Suri, which means Nowruz starts in just a few days on Sunday. Celebrate with us by stopping by and having an authentic Persian meal, or let us help you celebrate with your family and friends!
Chaharshanbe Suri (Red Wednesday or Scarlet Wednesday) is celebrated on the last Wednesday of the Persian year. For many, this day celebrates the sun and the deceased. The traditional customs associated with the celebration help to rid the person and household of bad and bring in good for the new year. The most well-known custom involves jumping over a bonfire while chanting “my yellow is yours, your red is mine,” a chant asking to be rid of sickness and bad luck and wishing for good health and luck in the new year.
More customs include smashing the pot (kūza-šekanī), spoon-banging (qāšoq-zani), fortune telling (fāl), a Wish-Granting Snack (Ajeel e Chaharshanbe Suri), burning rue (esfand), and dropping the sash (šāl-andāzī).
As the name implies, smashing the pot is a practice of taking a household pot and smashing it on the ground, thereby transferring the household’s misfortune from the house to the pot. Spoon-banging, much like trick-or-treating, involves disguised people going from home to home, banging on a plate or bowl with a spoon, asking for snacks.
Fortune telling is another popular custom, in which everyone puts an ornament or piece of jewelry into a wide-mouthed jug. Then slips of paper with fortunes are put in the jar. As each slip of paper is read someone else, traditionally a child, will pull an ornament out, to show whose future is being read. The Wish-Granting Snack consists of nuts and fruit and is eaten on Chaharshanbe Suri to make sure wishes come true.
The burning of rue seeds and dropping the sash generally happen on the eve of Chaharshanbe Suri. Burning rue seeds (or frankincense) at parties is a precaution against the evil eye and malicious spirits and devils.
Dropping the sash is a romantic way to start the new year off. Young men who want to know their chances with young women will tie a rope around a basket and drop or otherwise place the basket in front of the woman’s door while hiding. Once he feels a tug on the rope, he reels it back in. Based on the object the young woman’s family has placed in the basket, he can determine whether they favor him or not. He then can put a present of fruit or another ordinary object in the basket and return it. If the young woman takes the gift out of the basket, she accepts him.
Nowruz is Persian for ‘new day,’ a perfect description of the holiday and its practices. Nowruz is celebrated on the spring equinox, which also marks a new year on the Persian calendar. One of the most common customs is something many people do, spring cleaning! It is important to get the old dust and unnecessary belongings out of the house to prepare for the new year. As its cuisine is important to the Persian culture, this festival does not go without food preparation and many meals!
A common practice for Nowruz is the Half-Sin table. The table itself has a collection of symbolic items to help the family have a fortunate new year. In addition to other items that may appear, such as a mirror, candles, eggs, or coins, there are seven items that begin with the letter S. These are sabze (grain sprouts grown in a dish), samanu (sweet wheat germ pudding), senjed (Persian olive), serke (vinegar), sib (apple), sir (garlic), and sumac (a pungent spice). Much like other new year celebrations, the family gathers around the table to await the exact moment of the equinox and the beginning of the new year!
There are even heralds of the festival of Nowruz, Amu Nowruz and Haji Firuz. Amu Nowruz brings gifts to children and shares a love story with his wife, whom he can only see once a year, on Nowruz. Haji Firuz, dressed in festive red costume, dances in the streets, playing the tambourine while singing traditional songs.
The Nowruz holidays also come with many visits to the homes of friends, family, and neighbors. These visits could be short and involve tea and pastries, or could be large parties to include everyone! This is the perfect time to get together with family and friends and eat great Persian food!