The start of the Spring equinox marks the beginning of a new year in Afghanistan and Iran based on the Solar Hijri calendar. Nowruz, means new day, is celebrated by many communities in the world on March 20th. The largest celebrations being held in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kurdish regions. The communities in other countries that celebrate Nowruz are in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China, Georgia, India, Iraq.
What is Nowruz celebration?
The custom starts with prepping your home or as we call it a big cleanup of your home. This is especially important because people visit the homes of family during the Nowruz holidays. People cook special dishes for Nowruz. In Afghan households they cook sabzi chalau with fish, which is a rice and herbs dish. On the table there is ‘haft seen’, which is a table with seven products that start with the letter S. This stems from the Zoroastrian tradition of the elements of Fire, Earth, Air, Water and the three life forms of Humans, Animals and Plants. These seven sin (S) are:
- Sabze: wheat, barley, mung bean, or lentil sprouts grown in a dish
- Samanu or Samanak: sweet pudding made from wheat germ
- Senjed: Lotus tree fruit
- Serke: Vinegar
- Sib: Apple
- Sir: garlic
In Afghan households people additionally prepare haft mewa which translates to seven fruits. Haft mewa is a fruit salad made from dried fruits and nuts, served in their own syrup. These seven dried fruits and nuts are: senjed, raisins, pistachios, walnuts, apricots, almonds, apricots, hazelnuts.
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