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Today is Nowruz, or Noruz. Literally ‘the new day’, it is more commonly known as Persian New Year.
It marks the beginning not of 2013 but of 1392. It is a day of great celebration around the world, including at The Moodie Report, not least because Mrs Moodie Report, as she has come to call herself in my prolonged absences around the world, hails from Persia (Iran).
Besides the lovely ceremonies it entails (see below), Nowruz marks the first day of Spring, my favourite day of the year.
It’s the end of darkness, the end of a long (and this year particularly harsh) winter. All around London the buds are bursting into life, the daffodils are blooming, the birds breaking into their spring song. From the gloom there is light. When I was ill two winters ago, the day Persian New Year arrived I knew I was going to make it.
And, hey, I like the fact that it is 1392. That means we’ve still got another 607 years of intra-European Union duty free. I told you spring brings with it renewed optimism.
For Persians the world over, the Haft Sinn an altar of seven (haft) things starting with the Farsi letter sinn, is the eternal symbol of Nowrooz. They are:
- Sabz-eh (wheat sprouts representing new growth)
- Samanu (a thick paste made of wheat, representing the bounty of spring growth)
- Seeb (apple, representing health & beauty)
- Senjed (the sweet, dried fruit of the wild olive plant – also known as jujube, representing love)
- Sier (garlic, representing health)
- Sumaq (crushed sumac berries, representing sunrise, the time when good conquers evil)
- Serkeh (vinegar, representing age & patience)