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Norooz – Persian/Iranian New Year (March … especially the 13th, 20th & 21st)


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Norooz – Persian/Iranian New Year (March … especially the 13th, 20th & 21st)

rworange | | Mar 11, 2007 09:48 PM

I first heard of Norooz last year because a local Persian Deli had a “Happy NoRooz” sign in the window.

I was too late last year, so I looked into it this year.

I can use all the help I can get here because this is so unfamiliar to me, so jump in with corrections.

On this Tuesday (3/13) there is Chahrshanbeh Souri where festivals are held in the evening across the US (and I’m sure elsewhere). Someone said that this didn’t involve food, but every large event I’ve read about from NY to CA … mentions food … and music … and fire.

Anyone been to one of these festivals (often held on the beach where people jump over fire to burn away the bad things that happened in the last year). What type of food is served? Any specific Persian food?

I read something about roasted corn and roasted meat or something. Can’t seem to find that link again. Is this the same as “Red Wednesday?” I’m confused because well, it is on a Tuesday.

If it is the same day then the following foods are available at festivals ??? I’m asking: Noodle Soup, Baslogh (some sort of filled food), ajil-e chahar shanbeh soury and ajil-e moshkel gosha … mixtures of seven fruits/nuts: pistachios, roasted chick-peas, almonds, hazelnuts, peaches, apricots, and raisins.

I know Berkeley, CA has a big bash … & NYC & Toronto and a number of cities everywhere.

I mean … streets are closed … why have I NEVER heard of this event? The Persian chamber of commerce doesn’t seem to be doing much promotion. I have NEVER read about this in a magazine or newspaper.

Where has anyone gone to one of these bashes & what food was served … of course, info about the actual festival & food in Iran would be great.

That being said, the big dinner seems to be on the first day of spring. The dinner dishes I’ve seen refereneced … much of it having to do with good luck for the next year

Noodle Soup (Ash-e reshteh) to unravel or remove the knots from our lives. .
Rice with any of the following: Herbs, noodles, date, raisins, barberries, candied orange peel, carrots: a simple of re-birth
Fish (Sabzi polow ba mahi) representing fertility. The fish is prepared either fried or smoked?
Eggs & Herbs (Kuku-ye sabzi) … I’m getting sabzi means rice … more rebirth symbols
Bread, Cheese, and Fresh Herbs (Nan-o panir-o sabzi khordan) prosperity.
Wheat Sprout pudding (Samanu) - fertitlity and rebirth.
Sprout Cookies (Kolucheh-ye Javaneh-ye Gandom) prosperity and fertility.
Ice in Paradise (Yakh dar Behesht) nourishment
Saffron Sherbet and Saffron Tea with Rock Candy (Sharbat-e Zaferan va Chai-e Zafaran ba nabat) sweetness and light.
Baklava, Chick-pea Cookies, and Sugar Coated Almonds (Baqlava, Nan-e Nokhodchi, Noghl) prospertiy.

There are very pretty tables set with seven dishes that begin with the Persian letter “S” (Simm). Are these foods eaten or only displayed?

1 Sabzeh – wheat or lentil sprouts representing rebirth.
2. Samanu – wheat sprout … a sweet smooth new life
3 Seeb - apple representing health and beauty.
4. Senjed – dry lotus fruit representing love. The sweet scent of lotus flowers is said to make people fall in love
5. Seer - garlic representing medicine.
6. Somaq - sumac berries representing the triumph of good over evil like the red berries the color of a sunrise … like the sun overcoming darkness
7. Serkeh - vinegar, representing age and patience.

People also paint eggs like, uh, Easter? But some of the eggs I saw were amazing … some covered in silver and gold. Do these get eaten or are they merely decoration?

There are sweets exchanged. The Persian word ‘qand’ (sugar) is where the word ‘cand-y’ originates.
Some sweets:
- sugar-coated almonds (noghls)
- baklava
- rice cookies flavored with cardamom and topped with poppy seeds (nan-e berenji)
- almond cookies flavored with cardamom and rose water (nan-e badami)
- chick-pea cookies flavored with cardamom and topped with pistachios (nan-e nokhodchi)
- honey almonds with saffron and topped with pistachios (sohan asali),
- walnut cookies flavored with cardamom and topped with pistachios (nan-e gerdui)

There are thirteen days of Norooz starting on the first day of spring. On the 13th day - Sizdeh bedar there is a picnic. Are there traditional foods served then?

Really … why have I NEVER heard of all this … and all of this from a little sign in a deli.

Happy Persian New Year. It is a time to mend relationships, eh?

"Good thought, good word, good deed-to the year end, happy indeed.