Two years ago I decided to celebrate New Year’s Day quarterly – none of this waiting 365 days to reset the resolutions and refresh the commitments. No reason to wait a year for a clean slate! No, it makes much more sense to celebrate it seasonally. The first day of spring – or the exact moment of the vernal equinox – marks the start of the Persian New Year – Nowruz – 1394. It’s a beautiful, 13-day long celebration of renewal and rebirth. Here’s our sofreh-ye haft-sinn:
Of course, I can’t resist making traditions personal – I get a little silly with the seven things starting with “s” (and truth be told, some years it’s been a struggle to find them, mostly because we didn’t plan far enough ahead). Good luck finding (or making) samanu. I suggested we buy a goldfish, then toss it into the creek in thirteen days along with the sabzi – but my husband just raised an eyebrow as if to say, “You’re kidding, right?” Sure I am. This year, we grew the sabzi (rather than ripping chives out of the garden and pretending they were “wheatgrass”) and I remembered to buy apples and garlic. But there are other, non-traditional items that start with “s” (in Farsi – not in English):
See what I did there?
It may be that the current Christian tradition of coloring Easter eggs stems from Nowruz, but egg decorating has been popular for at least 60,000 years. Fabergé, of course, is famous for its opulent, jewel-encrusted eggs.
There is another tradition regarding the eggs. “Ancients imagined the world balanced on the horns of a giant bull. The moment of the equinox, the bull would toss the earth to his other horn to ease the burden. One of the traditional practices is to lay an egg on a polished surface on the day of the equinox and wait for it to roll slightly. The moment it does, the new year begins.” Or it begins when you can stand an egg on its end. We didn’t manage to get the egg to stand on its end, and I still feel a twinge of guilt for even thinking the words “double-sided sticky tape,” though someone else suggested hard-boiling the egg and gently thwapping it on the head. In fact, with the right egg and sufficient patience, you can do this trick any day of the year:
Shhhhh… I won’t tell if you won’t.