This Wednesday was Norouz, Persian New Year, which falls on the vernal equinox and is celebrated with tempting dishes.

The festivities get under way the week before New Year’s with an event called Charshanbeh Soori (the Eve of Red Bonfires). Catherine, at Food Musings, was fortunate to experience the celebration this year.

People gather in the streets … to feast on a thick bean and noodle soup called Ash-e Resht-e and kebabs served with grilled tomatoes and Thai basil. Then they light a series of fires, and everyone lines up to jump over them. It’s a way of wiping the slate clean for a new year, leaving all your old problems behind and welcoming health and happiness into the year ahead.

In Eugene, Oregon, McAuliflower of the blog Brownie Points is talking about Persian New Year’s as well—and specifically about a feast that is being prepared by a local restaurateur to celebrate the event. One look at the menu is sure to tempt you to adopt this holiday for yourself.

At World on a Plate, Jeanne explores the symbolism behind the food served during the two-week New Year’s celebration. “Foods served during Norouz communicate spring themes. Sweet and sour flavors are meant to represent the duality of good and evil. Eggs represent fertility, and are served in dishes like the popular kuku (somewhat similar to an Italian frittata).” There is also a recipe included here for Nan-e gerdui, walnut cookies with cardamom and pistachios.

And a dip into the Gastronomie archives provides recipes for dishes such as the noodle bean soup Ash-e Resht-e and sabzi polo rice pilaf, resources on where to find Persian ingredients, and a beautiful explanation of and tribute to the Haft Sinn altar that is displayed for Norouz.

The celebration will continue for nearly two weeks—ample time to try your hand at cooking some Persian food.

Norouz Mobarak! (Happy New Year!)

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