Norouz, Persian New Year – By Jasmine

By Guest Blogger: JASMINE RAFATI — Iran (read bio)

Norouz meaning the light of day is the Persian New Year and it celebrates the Spring Equinox. It is originally a Zoroastrian festival and has been celebrated from the Achaemenids Period (340-330 BC). On the first day of spring, Kings from different areas under the ruling of the Persian Empire would come to the kingdom to present gifts to the king of Persia.

On the eve of the last Wednesday of the year, Persians celebrate by making bonfires and jumping over them. They shout while leaping over the fire:  Give me your red vibrant color and take away my yellow paleness.  This day is called chaharshanbeh soori.

In welcoming spring and the renewal of life, most Persians also do an extensive cleaning of their homes. They wash all the curtains, and rugs in the house.  The kitchens are completely cleaned up. We decorate a table for the Persian New Year. Seven items that starts with the letter C decorate the table; Serkeh (vinegar), Sumac, Seer (garlic), smanu (sweet paste), seeb (apple), Senjed (sorb-tree_ berry), Sabzeh (wheat or lentils grown in a tray).  Most Persians add Sonbol (hyacinths) and sekkeh (coins). These two items begin with C but there are not traditionally considered part of the seven C’s people put on the table.

Serkeh signifies patience. Sumac is a sign for the sunrise. Seer represents medicine and health.  Samanu represents wealth. Seeb symbolizes beauty and Senjed represents love. Sabzeh is a symbol of rebirth and renewal that represent the season of spring.

Right after New Year is announced on TV, all my family members hug and congratulate each other with best wishes. Then my father takes the coin and passes it around. All of us hold the coin and wish for money and success. We also add colored boiled eggs to the table.

Growing up, my mom would boil eggs and us kids would sit around the table and paint them. There also couple of gold fish in a bowl. Muslims also add a copy of the Koran.

The traditional food of Persian New Year’s day is Sabzi polo which consists of rice and green herbs and it is served with fish. The seasonings used are parsley, coriander, chives, dill and fenugreek. Kookoo Sabzi, another food served that day, is a light and fluffy omelet soufflé made from parsley, dill, coriander, spinach, spring onion ends and chives, mixed with eggs and walnut.  Kookoo Sabizi is usually served with the evening meal.

Usually grandparents give money to the grandchildren as gifts for the New Year. I remember growing up, my grandparents, aunts and uncles would give us money as gifts and we were so happy to save that money. Almost every year, my mom used to borrow the money that we had saved and to this day she has not yet given them back.

The New Year starts on March 21st and we celebrate for 12 days. During this time, the younger people visit the older people first. The children and grandchildren go to parents and grandparents homes. The younger siblings pay visit to the older ones. Then the process reverses; the elders come visit the younger people.  During the visit the guests are served wonderful sweets, tea, fruits, and dried nuts.  On the thirteenth day, family members get together and they all go for a picnic. We find a running river where we drop the sabzeh into the water. The sabzeh which is sign of renewal take away all the negative things from the past year and gives us the hope for a year full of life, health, happiness, and success.

If you live in Los Angeles, California, you could take a stroll in Westwood Blvd., where you would see many stores carry the items for the Persian New Year.  You can also see all the shoppers going in and out of the stores buying the items for the table.

As I am writing this to you, I am in the home of my brother and his wife and we are decorating the Christmas tree with all my family.  My sister is law is an American and she brings the spirit of Christmas beautifully and fully each year to the house.

It is a wonderful world where we can merge cultures, enjoy, and celebrate New Year twice in a year.  I hope you all join us in celebrating the renewal of life in spring.

I wish each and every one of you a wonderful Christmas and a very happy new year full of health, love, and success. I wish for all the loved ones who are apart for any reason to be able to join each other and for these separations to end.  I hope that all of us who are going through tough times this year, to have better greater jobs next year. I wish for love and warmth of this season to overflow in everyone’s home.

I send you all my love and best wishes from San Diego, Cali.


77 Responses to “Norouz, Persian New Year – By Jasmine”

  1. Seo says:

    Interesting clutural event here. I appreciate you taking the time to share them with us all. It’s people like you that make my day :)

  2. Gish129 says:

    GREAT BLOG! You are one of the best writers I’ve seen in a long long time even if English is not perfect. I hope you keep writing because people like you inspire me!

  3. George B says:

    i really enjoyed reading about how you celebrate the holidays. so as you are living in US you celebrate two new years? btw i love persian food and your desciption of the traditional food for the persian new year sound yum. the picture is bright and inviting too, very good blog good info congrats.

  4. raging bull says:

    make your mom give your money back. :-)

  5. Carroll.b.m says:

    I LOVE Persian food so naturally I LOVE this article.

    • Jasmine says:

      Hi Carroll,

      isn’t the Persian food just wonderful? there are many places in Los Angeles where you can enjoy Persian food. Specially in the west Los Angeles area.

      thanks for reading.

  6. Andrew A. Sailer says:

    Very enjoyable post. I like to hear about the different cultures because we have more in common than not.

  7. Emanuela says:

    Hi thanks for yet another interesting post. Do you go back toi Iran for your New Year, if not Where do you find your running river to drop the sabzeh :|?

  8. amid3015 says:

    When you celebrate Christmas you realize what you are celebrating? Allah would not be pleased.

  9. Mary says:

    your rituals are too materialistic and selfish.

  10. GoFigureThat says:

    Hey,, the hard boil eggs reminds me of the Klumps in Nutty Proffessor. Wouldn’t want to be around to take a whiff of all the farts at the table. Sure the fish die inthe bowls. LOL!

  11. Morning Fever says:

    Pretty good post, you Muslims are just like the rest of us. :-)

  12. Magoo25 says:

    Congratulations on another sweet article. YOur beautiful heart shines through your writing and I can see your loving family in every line. You are blessed.

  13. Pinky says:

    GREAT article! Congrats.

  14. Maesar says:

    we should all share our traditions more ofr better understanding of each other. thank you for doing your part.

  15. R. Thomas says:

    Jasmine I like your Persian customs.They’re very family focused and seem to be about living your best life. We should have more of it in our American culture.

  16. Brenda W. says:

    I like the idea of cleaning for the New Year. That’s what I’ll be doing on December 31, 2010, cleaning my curtains, rugs and everything else. It’s good to try something new so thanks for the tip. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and continue writing these great blogs!

  17. Arrow says:

    now where’s the part about training suicide bombers? 😀

  18. Mila G. says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading all of your blogs. I look forward to hearing more from you in 2011. Happy Holidays.

    • Jasmine says:

      Dear Mila,
      Thanks for being a reader. I hope you will enjoy all future articles as well. Wish you all the best in this New Year.

  19. TheManColin says:

    Jasmine, you rock girl! Best wishes.

  20. Doggy says:


  21. jennette says:

    You said seven items that start with the letter C but all the items start with the letter S, can you clarify? Otherwise I really, really enjoyed reading this post, you paint a rich, beautiful picture. Happy holidays to you and your special family.

    • Jasmine says:

      Dear Jennett,
      I did write the words with an S in English but the letter in Farsi (Persian) is the letter C. Thanks for not being clear.

  22. Sep says:

    You write very detailed and praised you.Couldn written any better. I miss my country and family during these holidays.Thank you for the beutiful pictures.

  23. Streng says:

    Reading this article reminds me of my old roommate who was Muslim. He always kept talking about this topic and you described it exactly. I’ll give him this article. Sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  24. Lydia says:

    What a wonderful post! I like how you celebrate family of generations and how you encourage the interaction of grandchildren and grandparents. I think this is your best post so far because it is full of love and life and hope. Many blessings to you and your extended family wherever they are.

    • Jasmine says:

      Dear Lydia,

      thanks for your sweet comment and thanks so much for the blessings. I wish a wonderful year for you full of happiness, love, and health.

  25. Sandy S. says:

    I like every thing you write about in your blog. Your culture is rich in love and positive energy. Happy New Year.

    • Jasmine says:

      Hello Sandra,
      Thank you so much for reading my blog and thanks so much for your sweet comment. I belive Persians have a culture rich in love

  26. ajohnson says:

    marvellous article you have induced here! very entertaining and spiritual.

  27. A6W says:

    I want some Sabzi polo! Great stuff, was a helpful info – thx Jasmine!

  28. Cole Nogaht says:

    Pagan worship if you ask me.

  29. Jardel186 says:

    Excellent post. I want to thank you for this informative read.

  30. Caledonia says:

    Happy New Year American style Jasmine. May all your dreams come true in 2011. 😀

  31. CC says:

    Great blog. A lot of interesting information here. I’m sending it to some friends! Happy New Year.

  32. poker face says:

    A wonderful way to celebrate life. I love it, keep up the good work.

  33. Hardman says:


  34. BEINGGOOD says:

    Hi Jazmine, I love your blog, I love how you cherish family and culture and being in America. you are beautiful inside and out.

  35. Ashly Cogar says:

    hi, thank you for posting this. I really enjoyed reading it and I like where you’re coming from. thanks again!

  36. Heat22 says:

    What a fabulous way to celebrate. Happy New Year!

  37. pari says:

    Thanks Jasmine,

    Very well explained.I enjoyed reading your writing as I didn’t know the signification of many items, and for the others that I knew I got the idea how to explain it to my non-persian friends.

    Have a wonderful 2011

  38. jose says:

    Best wishes from ARizona Jasmine. Happyt new year.

  39. Nicolass says:

    Thanks jazmin. i love the persian food and culture. I loved this article, your best so far.

  40. Ridlings83 says:

    I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your post and so many your reader commentting here

  41. Kraig Hover says:

    You have written a very interesting points ! ps great website and pretty picture. congratulations Jasmin.

  42. Worker says:

    I dont understand why there is so much love in the muslim community and yet so much hate for other communities and cultures. Well done with this blog.

  43. Brel says:

    If you could e-mail me with a few suggestions on just how you made your blog look this excellent, I would be grateful.

  44. Castera says:

    I find this actually really useful and interesting. Thx for the work in putting it all together as I’m sure many others appreciate an insite into your culture. ;). Happy New Year.

  45. Julia says:

    Thank you for the detailed explanation of the Perisan New Year. My husband is Persian and his family celebrates exactly like you just described so now I can speak more intelligently about the customs of the new year. Wonderful read. Thank you!

    • jasmine says:

      Darling Julia,
      thanks for your comment. I am sure your husband’s family love you so much and are all very happy to have you as a part of the family

  46. Gil Warmbier says:

    Beautiful post! I’m glad I stumbled upon it. I just met a gorgeous Persian lady and I can’t wait to impress her with my ‘knowledge’ of her culture. Thank you so much pretty lady!

  47. Chris says:

    Beneficial info and excellent story you got here! I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts, opinions and culture and putting the time into the stuff you publish! Great work!

  48. Orduna5 says:

    Lovely post, it brought a sweet smile to my face when I read your wonderful description on holidays, family and love. you are lucky have this in your life. :-)

  49. tommy says:

    I want to meet some Persians! You sound like fun.

  50. Mica says:

    Jasmine, learning about different cultures is one of my favorite hobbies. I have friends from all over the world but have never had so much detail about the Persian new year. How does your family celebrate our New year?

  51. Fowlar Kemph says:

    Yes it is a wonderful world where we can merge cultures, enjoy, and celebrate each other. I hope that all your dreams come true.

  52. Sarah T says:

    This is another good blog. I just read a wonderful post by Sandra Glushankoff and also enjoyed the most annoying media people. You guys do a great job. Keep it up. By the way it was good to learn about another side of your culture instead of all the negative things that’s always associated with it. Happy American New Year!

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