Nauroz Then and Now

Nauroz is an ancient Zoroastrian festival and believed to have been invented by Zoraster himself. Its earliest reference appeared in ancient Persian records dating to 2nd century AD but it was an important festival under the Achaemenids, the first Persian empire ( 550-350 BC).

Nau meaning new and roz means day and it is the Parsi/ Persian new year which fell on the first day of the Spring Equinox, usually 21st March.

It falls in the Persian month of Favardin.

Under the Mughals this festival was celebrated for 19 days with the first and last day being considered auspicious.

Iranians[1] traditionally gather around a “Haft-Seen” (translated as Seven-S’s), which is the traditional table setting to bring in the New Year and the new beginnings of spring.

It consists of seven items that in Farsi begin with the letter “S.”

  • Sabzeh (lentil sprouts that grow in a dish, symbolizing rebirth)
  • Samanu (sweet pudding made from wheat, symbolizing affluence)
  • Senjed (dried fruit of the oleaster tree, symbolizing love)
  • Seer (garlic, symbolizing medicine)
  • Seeb (apple, symbolizing health and beauty)
  • Somaq (sumac berries, symbolizing the color of the sunrise)
  • Serkeh (vinegar, symbolizing age and patience)

I have many Irani friends and they normally add a gold fish for luck to their acquarium on Nauroz.

Parsis keep the 7 S (in Persian):

  • sham (candle/light),
  • sherbat (sweet fruit juice),
  • sherab (wine),
  • shehed (honey),
  • sheer (milk),
  • shalgum (turnip) and
  • shireeni (sweets
  • Though more non traditional food is now served. Rustom’s a Parsi restaurant in Adhchini, Delhi is celebrating with a menu of
  • keema samosa
  • russian pattice
  • mutton pulao with masala dal
  • eeda chutney na pattice
  • khajoor chapati along with its regular a la carte items

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