If you walk out of my door, the gusting wind will chill you to your bones. So, allow me some grumblings for wishing a [belated] Happy No-ruz to all my gentle readers. No-ruz, New Day, the vernal equinox, the first day of Spring, has to be the oldest celebration around. Some say it goes far back to the early Babylonian Kings (approximately 2340 B.C.) when in the Marduk temple, all the Gods would assemble and decide the happenings of the coming year. The Zorastrians had two holidays, on the first and the sixth of the first month – known as the Bigger and the Lesser No-ruz or the Special and the Common No-ruz. The two were combined and collated into one holiday [probably when the Zorastrian new year was moved from October to spring?]. Firdausi, in his Shahnameh links this to Jamshed.
It is celebrated in Iran, Turkey, all the Xistans in Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan[esp. the Pakhtun] & Parsis everywhere. Obviously, mullahs outside get mad at this pre-Islamic celebration that competes with the two Eids. Eh. What’s new?
So, how do you celebrate it? Of course like any celebration worth, well, celebrating, you trick out in new clothes and pack the table with sweets and meats. But, you also get to stack the Haft Seen table: A table decorated with seven traditional items the names of which in all begin with “ÿ≥” or the letter “S”. So, seven things whose name starts with ‘s’ – emphasis on green & spring things, of course. Samples: Sabzeh [sprouts], Seb [apples], Sunbal [hyacinth], Serkeh [vinegar], Sekeh [gold]…i am out of ssssesss but here is a list [scroll down].