Food Friday: Delicious Bites For Persian New Year
Around 300 million people celebrate the holiday around the world, and they eat some delicious foods as part of the process.
Persians celebrate new life and good luck in the year ahead by deep cleaning their homes.
Reset learns how Chicago’s Persian community is celebrating the holiday this year.
GUESTS:Sheila Kohanteb, UChicago’s Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts and the Harris School of Public Policy
Mohammad Salehi, founder of Heray Spice
Nowruz, also known as the Persian New Year, is a traditional festival celebrated in many parts of the world, particularly in Iran, Afghanistan, and other Central Asian countries. Nowruz marks the first day of the Persian calendar, which usually falls on March 20 or 21.
The celebrations of Nowruz usually begin a few weeks before the actual day of the festival with the preparation of various customs and rituals. Some of the major ceremonies associated with Nowruz are:
- Chaharshanbeh Souri: Chaharshanbeh Souri, which means "Wednesday Feast," is a fire-jumping ceremony that takes place on the eve of the last Wednesday before Nowruz. People build bonfires in the streets and jump over them while reciting a traditional poem. This is believed to purify the body and soul, ward off evil spirits, and bring good luck for the coming year.
- Haft Sin: Haft Sin, which means "Seven S's," is a tabletop arrangement of seven items that begin with the Persian letter "S." The items usually include Sabzeh (wheat or lentil sprouts), Samanu (a sweet pudding), Senjed (dried fruit of the jujube tree), Sir (garlic), Sib (apples), Somagh (sumac), and Serkeh (vinegar). Each item has a symbolic meaning related to life, health, wealth, and prosperity.
- Sizdah Bedar: Sizdah Bedar, which means "Thirteen Outdoor," is a custom of spending the 13th day of Nowruz outdoors in nature. People usually go to parks, forests, or countryside and have a picnic with their families and friends. It is believed that spending the day outdoors will bring good luck for the rest of the year and ward off bad omens.
Overall, Nowruz is a festival of renewal, joy, and hope. It celebrates the arrival of spring, the rebirth of nature, and the renewal of life. The customs and rituals associated with Nowruz reflect the values of unity, hospitality, and harmony that are deeply ingrained in Persian culture.