Nowruz – New Year Festival

As the days are getting longer and warmer Spring is so close I can almost taste it! Everyone is starting to dry their washing outside, children are playing in the gardens after school and everything just looks and feels a little bit better in general than the wet drizzly post-Christmas dark nights that January and February had to offer.

Another thing I love about this time of year is that one of my favourite Iranian festivals is just around the corner. Nowruz or Norooz, which is the Iranian New Year festival that lasts for around two weeks and literally means ‘starting a new day’ and the celebration of the start of Spring for all of the reasons above!

Traditionally Iranians celebrate this festival over a two week period with family and friends. We spend the time celebrating the people we love whilst talking about all of our favourite moments of the year gone by and the things we are looking forward to for the following year.

There are a few other traditions that come with Nowruz that I myself am rather partial to. One of which is a full spring clean (Khane tekani). Another is growing Sabzeh from lentils & I have just this week myself, started a new Jones’ family tradition and started a little ‘memory jar’ for us all to put post it notes inside of all the lovely things we do throughout the year that we are thankful for. On New Years Eve and at Nowruz we can then read them out and celebrate all the best bits of our year passed.

And as with all Persian/Iranian gatherings, it would simply not be a celebration if it didn’t involve food!

It is traditional to serve 7 different dishes on the Sofreh (a special cloth). The seven dishes are said to represent re birth, health, prosperity, happiness, patience, joy and beauty. One of these is Asheh Reshteh which is a traditional noodle, bean, chickpea, mint and spinach soup. The noodles are meant to symbolise life’s different and many paths. My mum always used to make me an Iranian soup very similar to this when ever I was poorly and she used to add barley to it and I still to this day think there was some kind of magic in it as it always made me better!

I have my husband’s family coming for the weekend to celebrate with us this year and I have decided to do a green herb menu to bring good luck for the coming year. I can’t wait to start preparing and cooking and have the house full of lovely smells, colours and family.

My Nowruz Menu

Sabzi Polo Mahi – rice with fish and herbs to symbolise re birth. Also, I ate Mahi Mahi on my wedding day so this will bring back some lovely memories. My Hubbie had Baracuda but doubt I will be able to get hold of any of that this side of Shropshire!

Kuku Sabzi – a herb and egg tortilla (I used to hate this as a child as is quite bitter but I absolutely love it now)

Lavash (flatbreads)

Mast o khiar – a cold cucumber & mint soup

Yak dar behesht (an orchid ice cream) for nourishment

Baklava  to represent prosperity

Sohan – a sweet saffron almond brittle to symbolise light and love for the coming year

I will upload some pictures and recipes of the above over the next few weeks so stay tuned!

And finally I would like to wish all of my wonderful readers a very happy Nowruz and a healthy, happy and prosperous Spring and year ahead.

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Persian Love Cake