Today at the centre we had our Nowruz celebration (Persian New Year) and we just wanted to share some information with you about the tradition! A great video to watch on the holiday is viewable at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsuAoZ5IYiU
A few days prior to the New Year, a special cover is spread on to the Persian carpet or on a table in every Persian household. This ceremonial table is called cloth of seven dishes, (each one beginning with the Persian letter cinn). The number seven has been sacred in Iran since the ancient times, and the seven dishes stand for the seven angelic heralds of life-rebirth, health, happiness, prosperity, joy, patience, and beauty.
The symbolic dishes consist of:
- Sabzeh or sprouts, usually wheat or lentil representing rebirth.
- Samanu is a pudding in which common wheat sprouts are transformed and given new life as a sweet, creamy pudding.
- Seeb means apple and represents health and beauty.
- Senjed, the sweet, dry fruit of the Lotus tree, represents love.
- Seer, which is garlic in Persian, represents medicine.
- Somaq, sumac berries, represent the colour of sunrise; with the appearance of the sun, Good conquers Evil.
- Serkeh, or vinegar, represents age and patience.
To reconfirm all hopes and wishes expressed by the traditional foods, other elements and symbols are also often on the ceremonial table:
- A few coins represent prosperity and wealth.
- A basket of painted eggs represent fertility.
- A Seville orange floating in a bowl of water represents the earth floating in space
- A goldfish in a bowl represents life and the end of astral year-picas.
- A flask of rose water known for its magical cleansing power, is also included on the tablecloth.
- Nearby is a brazier for burning wild rue, a sacred herb whose smoldering fumes ward off evil spirits.
- A pot of flowering hyacinth or narcissus.
- A mirror, which represents the images and reflections of Creation as we celebrate anew the Persian traditions, and beliefs that creation took place on the first day of spring.
- On either side of the mirror are two candlesticks holding a flickering candle for each child in the family. The candles represent enlightenment and happiness.
If you are interested in more information on Nowruz check out this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nowruz
Note: the above photo is our Table for this year’s celebration! Happy Nowruz!