Friday Social: Decorate Eggs for Persian New Year (Nowruz)

 

Wanna hear something funny?  Bobby thinks we’re already married.

Back in January, while working on elopement details, I was putting together ideas for the sweetheart table.  I was designing a marker that said “Priya + Bobby, EST. 2017” when Bobby protested.  He insists that it say 2016 instead.

Remember my post about self-uniting weddings? Well, that stemmed from a conversation we had last summer about what actually connects two people: is it a piece of paper or is it an emotional bond? I suggested the latter, Bobby agreed and that’s why he thinks we’re married right now.

I’m not against self-uniting weddings, in fact I’m all for it.  But since marriage is a social contract meant to publicly recognize a couple’s union, the general population will have a hard time accepting us without a piece of paper.  So legally, we aren’t.

Yet.

But…in the way that matters… 😉

Nowruz

In the meantime, we’re getting ready for Persian New Year (Nowruz) at home.  It’s my first time celebrating and I’m delighted! Nowruz a nondenominational celebration that predates the arrival of Islam in Iran.  My favorite part? Nowruz begins on the first day of spring – my favorite season! – at the exact time when the sun crosses the celestial equator.  For us in the tri-state area it will be Monday, March 20th at 6:28AM.

I already look forward to the first day of spring every year and I usually buy myself a new dress for the occasion anyway.  Turns out, buying new clothes are part of the Nowruz traditions!  But there are so many traditions associated with the festival and almost all of them symbolic.

Here’s your brief introduction to Persian New Year.

Chaharshanbe Souri

Nowruz celebrated in other parts of the Middle East – Flickr Photo by Jan Sefti

Ceremonies begin the Wednesday before Nowruz.  On this day, people light huge bonfires on the streets and jump over them.  It’s meant to purge the bad luck of winter and welcome the colors of spring, in this case, the redness of the flame.  Afterwards, people get together, and stay up late sharing stories.  The ashes from the flames are then buried far away from the home because they are considered bad luck.

 

Haji Firuz

Flickr Photo by Ninara

This Santa Claus-like figure oversees the Nowruz celebrations.  He’s covered in soot and wears a bright red suit, much like St. Nick.  He’s also got his version of Jingle Bells that everyone sings and dances along to, spreading cheer for the new year.

Sizdah Bedar

From our walk last year – Photo by Priya Marie

On the thirteenth day of the Persian New Year, called Sizdah Bedar, the festival ends with people going outside, getting in touch with nature or going on picnics.  The literal translation of the tradition is “to get rid of the thirteenth.”  It is meant to avoid bad luck associated with the number thirteen by instead getting outdoors and enjoying life.  It also happens to coincide with April Fool’s Day.

Haft Sin

Flickr Photo by Casey Hugelfink

This brings us to the topic of today’s post.  For Nowruz, decorative tables are made in the home containing seven items that start with the letter “S” or “sin” (pronounced “seen”).  These items could be:

  • apples (seeb) to symbolize beauty
  • garlic (seer) to signify health
  • plants/sprouts/greenery (sabzeh) to represent rebirth
  • vinegar (serkeh) for patience
  • coins (sekeh) for prosperity
  • dried fruit from a lotus tree (senjed) to represent love
  • sumac to represent the sun, good triumphing over evil
  • samanu, a sweet pudding
  • hyacinth (sonbol)

Other items that are often included are:

  • goldfish in a bowl, representing life
  • an orange floating in water to represent the earth floating in space
  • a book of poetry
  • painted eggs to represent fertility – our favorite!

Flickr Photo by Fairfax Library Foundation

I’m working on some haft sin table design ideas.  You can find some inspirations on my Pinterest board: Nowruz/Easter.

Decorating Eggs That Last

Easter Egg Hunt

Our family celebrates Easter which is also about renewal and rebirth.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that both holidays originating from the same part of the world share the tradition of coloring eggs.  It just goes to show that maybe our differences aren’t as big as some would like to believe.

If we want our decorated eggs to last longer than a couple of days, we’ll have to skip the real stuff.

We’re experimenting with wooden eggs this weekend. I found these eco-friendly versions on amazon.com. I’m passing on the Paas coloring kit this time around because I want to try some ornate patterns and I think I can get the best results with brushes, acrylics and watercolors.

Coloring eggs this weekend is also a great indoor date night idea since it will still be cold in the city. An activity of hope and anticipation for the vernal equinox to help us say goodbye to the grayness of winter. Plus, if you’ve got kids at home you can start the activity with them and keep it simple, then focus on the intricate ones after they’ve gone to bed. Yep, another dating with the kids idea!  We’ll share our creations with you this weekend. Keep an eye out on Twitter

So have fun painting eggs with your partner this weekend while connecting with a different culture in a familiar way.

Nowruz Mobarak!

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