The Iranian New Year also called “Nowruz”
Nowruz is the new year holiday in Iran, it means “New Day”. It celebrates the awakening of nature, the transition of the darkness of winter to the new life of spring, a time to celebrate life and renewal for much of that which is on the earth. Traditions include building bonfires to purge evil, and making it through another winter. It is also a tradition to clean everything in the house before Nowruz, which may have been the origin of the custom of “spring cleaning” as we know it here in America.
Lawn Program – Ruz-e-Iran:
The lawn program is held every year on the Sunday following the Persian New Year, which is the day of the vernal equinox, around March 20th or the first day of spring. The new year is marked at the very instant when the sun leaves the astrological sign of Pisces and enters the sign of Aries.
Since the celebration of the New Year (Nowruz) is the biggest and most important holiday for the Persian people, the events in Balboa Park are very extensive. In their beautiful new cottage you will find a lot of the traditional artifacts and Persian hospitality starting at 12:00 noon.
At 2:00 pm the lawn program begins with the usual speeches and National anthem, followed by a musical program. Professional dancers from Los Angeles and dancers from the local Persian Dance Academy will perform some of their traditional ethnic and folk dances in their authentic costumes. In addition, there will be reading of poems plus singing and playing of instruments.
Another interesting feature is the Nowruz “Haft Seen” table. As tradition dictates, seven symbols are placed on a table, all begin with the Farsi letter “S”. All representing nature’s gifts. They are:
- boiled malt with flour (Samanu-prosperity),
- apple (Seeb-beauty),
- seed sprout (Sabzeh-rebirth),
- fruit of service tree (Senjed-happiness),
- garlic (Seer-health),
- vinegar (Serekh-patience), and
- sumac berry ((Sumagh-joy).
Added to these are season flowers that begin with “S” as well. Sonbol (hyacinth) and Sussan (lily). Sekeh (coins) in water for purification and prosperity, colored eggs for fertility, a bowl with gold fish life and sun changing from the constellation of Pisces to Aries, a mirror – reflection of creation, candles – enlightenment.
The festivities continue until 5:00 pm with a D.J. playing and dancing and having a good time.
Food served for the Lawn Program and the Christmas Holidays in the park are chicken kabob with rice, pita bread and salad. The desserts are baklava and pastries served with hot tea and other drinks. For December Nights, they add a hot vegetarian herb noodle soup to their menu.