That time of the year again, around spring and Persian New year, Norooz – the perfect time to find the motivation to write, to post, and to cherish and share the wonderful moments where people, plants and beautiful customs come to a renewed life one more time. Below is a selection of pictures taken by my sister, in several Iranian cities, including Shiraz, Yazd, Booshehr, Dargahan and Tehran, during the months of March to April 2016.
At the end of the Norooz festivities, on the 13th day of Spring, or sizdah-bedar, literally ‘thirteen to out’, Iranians, by tradition, go outdoors for a family picnic to play games, dance, ramp around and, of course, eat. Lettuce and “sekanjehbin”, a heavenly tasting syrup made of vinegar and honey, is among the popular food item for this day. Other foods of the day include noodle soup, and broad-bean mixed rice, layered with large cubes of lamb or beef.
Egg decoration is a popular craft in many cultures and traditions. Easter of course is probably the most renowned one in Christian world, but the painted eggs you see here are the ones that my husband and I have painted over the years for the Persian New Year, Norooz, which is celebrated in some 15 countries just a few days before Easter, on the first day of spring.
Each year we paint several boiled eggs, but keep only the prettiest of them. Well, that “winner egg” is usually the one painted by my husband – to the testimony of all the friends and relatives who pay us Norooz visit! Here is how it goes, I boil 5-6 eggs and let them cool and meanwhile get whatever painting tools we need. We start at the same time. I finish painting five and go about preparing dinner or something. He is still working on one. He takes a break and continues working on it after dinner until he gets off the chair with a bad back and happy face: A work of Art, if you ask me! Look at some of them below.
I promised to post Iranian norooz-specific traditional dish, mixed herb rice and fish (sabzi polow mahi), since traditionally it is prepared and served on the first day of spring (often, along with kookoo sabzi). Well, better late than never! The good news is that the recipe I have here is the easiest AND the most delicious one – cross my heart! Special thanks to my sister, Atefeh the chef!
Ingredients (6 serving): Rice, 4 cups. Total of 2 cups of dried herbs consisting of: parsley and scallions 6 tbsp. each; dill 3 tbsp.; fenugreek 1 tbsp. (all powdered dried, remember!). Garlic, 3-4 cloves, finely chopped. Ground saffron, 1 tea spoon. Water, salt and oil as needed.
This is a rather lengthy general introduction and personal note on Norooz the deeply-cherished Persian NewYear which occurs at the exact moment of the start of spring, this year on Monday March 20th at 01:11 AM (Montreal) 08:44 AM (Iran). My new header shows a Norooz table setting “sofreh”, which should contain certain items, as I will explain below. The contents as well as the arrangement of sofreh items vary according to individual’s taste and beliefs. I love my sister’s artistic “sofreh” shown in the header. Don’t you!? And let me confess, I am dying to share mine with you once I set it – probably sometime on Sunday evening
For now, let’s just turn this music on and listen to Simin Ghadiri, a Persian folk singer, while you’re reading my account of Norooz. You don’t really need to understand her words, her voice alone is spring on itself! (Lyric describes spring days, the mountains, and fields covered with flowers)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGNLwkm5wes “Yek gol, Sad gol….”