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Our Persian New Year

Happy Persian New Year!

The Persian New Year marks the first day of Spring. Most all Persians put up a haft seen in their homes for the new year. A haft seen is a decorated table with items that symbolize the coming of Spring. It literally translates to “7 S’s” Each S represents something different. The seven S’s that we put on the table are:

Sabzeh: Wheat, lentil or barley sprouts that symbolize rebirth

Seeb: Apple, symbolizing beauty and health

Samanu: Sweet pudding made of wheat germ, symbolizing affluence

Senjed: Dried oleaster, symbolizing love

Seer: Garlic, symbolizing medicine

Serkeh: Vinegar, symbolizing age and patience

Somaq: sumac fruit, symbolizing the color of sunrise

Other things we put on the table spread are:

Hyacinths: Symbolize the coming of Spring

Eggs: Symbolize fertility

Coins: Symbolize wealth

Mirror: Symbolize the sky and honesty

Candles: Symbolize enlightment

Fish in a bowl of water: Symbolize life

Sweets: Symbolize sweetness

Holy Book: I always put up the Shahnameh or Divan-e-Hafez (Famous Iranian poetry books) as I don’t believe in religion.

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I love how Salar’s parents were here with us in spirit….and through the mirror.

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As the clock strikes the time of the Spring equinox, families gather round the haft seen in their best dressed clothes and eat sweets and give each other hugs and kisses. This year me and Salar were on a no-sugar-diet (gotta lose those pregnancy pounds) so we both put a mini cupcake in our mouths, chewed it, felt like we were in heaven for a few seconds, and then spat it out. I really despise dieting.

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For the new year I bought my babies matching suits. So they can be little gentleman. I dressed them up and put them on my bed, where Valentino proceeded to sit on his little brother Caspian.

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That night we went outside our house, lit a sky lantern, and made wishes as it flew up up and away! I think this may totally be illegal. Valentino was fascinated by it, as were our neighbors.

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Later that night we all went to Cafe Renaissance for dinner with my parents and my sister. Caspian had to stay behind with a babysitter because he’s still too little to go fine dining. We took Valentino with us, and he behaved like a perfect gentleman, all throughout the night! (I have my iphone youtube app to thank for that). Thank god for Peppa Pig.

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It was the perfect end to a perfect day….good food and family, complemented with some Darioush wine and my favorite Vouvray. We left a bit tipsy and feeling good about the New Year.

The following day we had brunch with my parents, sister, and brother in law at our house.

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We had the typical New Years eats: Fish and green herbed rice. Me and Salar are going through a no carb period for a while, so we just ate fish and this thing called kookoo sabzi…which I don’t care for much but ate it anyway.

One thing I love about Norooz is that it is celebrated by Iranians of all religions. It’s not a religious holiday, but has roots from Zoroastrianism- Iran’s pre-Islamic religion. Apparently back in the day they would include wine on the table as well, and would call haft seen “haft sheen” and fill the table with 7 “Sh’s” including “sharab” which means wine.

Last year I made a haft sheen (see pics below). I wanted it to be pre-islamic, and include wine. But then this year I researched it more and found out that the word sharab is actually an arabic word….so how can the haft sheen be pre-islamic? Confusing. So I went ahead and made a haft seen this year instead of haft sheen. Can you tell I have a thing against the islamic invasion of Iran?? Can we all please start saying “Doroud” instead of “Salam” which is an arabic word??

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About: Leila Rahmanian and Salar Rahmanian

Leila Rahmanian is married to Salar Rahmanian. They live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have three wonderful kids, two boys named Valentino Rahmanian and Caspian Rahmanian and a beautiful daughter named Persephone Rahmanian.