Norouz Mubarak

It was delightful to be able to spend a little time Friday celebrating Norouz, or the Persian New Year, with Denver’s Persian community.  The Persian New Year is celebrated at the onset of Spring, and, like our own New Year, is essentially secular, celebrated by the entire country.  So when my friend Ana Sami invited me to drop by, it was a no-brainer.  I also had a chance to meet Tim Ghaemi in person, after having interviewed him for the Rocky Mountain Alliance’s Blog Talk Radio show last year.

In addition to the actual food, there’s usually a special table set, with a number of symbolic items:

For some reason, they all begin with “S” in Farsi, but here’s the list:

  • Sabzeh – wheat or lentils grown in a tray or dish prior to Noe-Rooz to represent rebirth,
  • Samanu – a sweet pudding made from wheat germ, symbolizing affluence,
  • Senjed – the dried fruit of the lotus tree which represents love,
  • Seer – which means garlic in Persian, and represents medicine,
  • Seeb – which means apple in Persian, and represents beauty and health,
  • Somaq – sumac berries, which represent the colour of the sun rise,
  • Serkeh – which means vinegar in Persian, and represents age and patience,
  • Sonbol – the hyacinth flower with its strong fragrance heralding the coming of spring, and
  • Sekkeh – coins representing prosperity and wealth

There’s also usually a copy of the community-appropriate religious book, be it a Chumash, a Bible, or a Koran.  This being an inclusive celebration, they had a copy of both the Koran and the Bible on the top shelf there, but the big red book there in the middle is actually neither.  Instead, it is a book listing the 12,000+ vicitms of political executions under the current Iranian regime, a reminder that as is often the case, immigrants to America are freer to celebrate their holidays here than they would be back home.

Norouz Mubarak to Ana, Tim, and the rest of the Persian-American community here in Denver.

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