This Tuesday, March 20,12:15 pm, marks the beginning of the spring and Persian New Year or Nowruz celebration. A tradition that dates back to 3000 years ago and is based on the idea of triumph of good over evil. The celebration is observed by many cultures including Iranian, Tajik, Afghani, Uzbekis, Kurds, Turks and even some Pakistani and Indians.
A couple of weeks before the spring arrival families start a thorough house cleaning.
They usually set up a table with various items on it but all include seven items starting with the letter "Seen" in Persian. These items all have vegetable origins and are considered generally good for longevity and health!
One of such table is set in the Lobby of Masjid-e-Ali where they will hold a Nowruz prayer event at 12 noon.
- Seeb, or apples, which represent health and beauty
- Sabzeh, or sprouts, which represent rebirth
- Samanoo, a pudding which represents the sophistication of Iranian cooking and patience; the pudding is made of wheat germ and flour and takes about 14 hours to cook.
- Senjed, which is the fruit of the Lotus tree, and represents love
- Somaq, which are sumac berries and which represent the color of the sun
- Serkeh, or vinegar, which represents age and patience.
There are other elements that may be placed on the table. For example, on the table at Masjid-e-Ali there are a live goldfish in a bowl, which represents life; a mirror, which represents reflection and candles, which represent light, a holy book, Quran, a bowl of colored eggs which represent birth, and Hyacinths, which have a great fragrance.
The celebration continues for 13 days during which people visit friends and relatives and exchange gifts. On the 13th day, celebrants go out and hold a family picnic. During that day goldfish is also released into a stream or river or lake.