We hereby announce that the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Bern will be closed on the occasion of the beginning of Persian New Year which is called Nowruz , on Thursday and Friday 20th and 21st of March 2014.
Some Information about Eid Nouroz
Nowruz, The Iranian New Year
Nowruz, in word, means "New Day". It is the new day that starts the year, traditionally the exact astronomical beginning of the Spring. Iranians take that as the beginning of the year. This exact second is called "Saal Tahvil". Nowruz with its' uniquely Iranian characteristics has been celebrated for at least 3,000 years and is deeply rooted in the rituals and traditions of the Zoroastrian (This was the religion of ancient Persia before the advent of Islam in 7th century A.D.).
Iranians consider Nowruz as their biggest celebration of the year, before the new year, they start cleaning their houses (Khaane Tekaani), and they buy new clothes. But a major part of New Year rituals is setting the "Haft Seen" with seven specific items. In ancient times each of the items corresponded to one of the seven creations and the seven holy immortals protecting them. Today they are changed and modified but some have kept their symbolism. All the seven items start with the letter "S"; this was not the order in ancient times. These seven things usually are: Seeb (apple), Sabze (green grass), Serke (vinager), Samanoo (a meal made out of wheat), Senjed (a special kind of berry), Sekke (coin), and Seer (garlic). Sometimes instead of Serke they put Somagh (sumak, an Iranian spice). Zoroastrians today do not have the seven "S"s but they have the ritual of growing seven seeds as a reminder that this is the seventh feast of creation, while their sprouting into new growth symbolized resurrection and eternal life to come.
Wheat or lentil representing new growth is grown in a flat dish a few days before the New Year and is called Sabzeh (green shoots). Decorated with colorful ribbons, it is kept until Sizdah beh dar, the 13th day of the New Year, and then disposed outdoors. A few live gold fish (the most easily obtainable animal) are placed in a fish bowl. In the old days they would be returned to the riverbanks, but today most people will keep them. Mirrors are placed on the spread with lit candles as a symbol of fire. Most of the people used to place Qoran on their Sofreh (spread) in order to bless the New Year. But some people found another alternative to Qoran and replaced it by the Divan-e Hafez (poetry book of Hefez), and during "Saal Tahvil" reading some verses from it was popular. Nowadays, a great number of Iranians are placing Shahnameh (the Epic of Kings) of Ferdowsi on their spread as an Iranian national book. They believe that Shahnameh has more Iranian identity values and spirits, and is much suitable for this ancient celebration.
After the Saal Tahvil, people hug and kiss each other and wish each other a happy new year. Then they give presents to each other (traditionally cash, coins or gold coins), usually older ones to the younger ones. The first few days are spent visiting older members of the family, relatives and friends. Children receive presents and sweets, special meals and "Aajil" (a combination of different nuts with raisins and other sweet stuff) or fruits are consumed. Traditionally on the night before the New Year, most Iranians will have Sabzi Polo Mahi, a special dish of rice cooked with fresh herbs and served with smoked and freshly fried fish. Koukou Sabzi, a mixture of fresh herbs with eggs fried or baked, is also served. The next day rice and noodles (Reshteh Polo) is served. Regional variations exist and very colorful feasts are prepared.
The 13th day of the new year is called "Sizdah Bedar" and spent mostly outdoors. People will leave their homes to go to the parks or local plains for a festive picnic. It is a must to spend Sizdah Bedar in nature. This is called Sizdah Bedar and is the most popular day of the holidays among children because they get to play a lot! Also in this day, people throw the Sabze away, they believe Sabze should not stay in the house after "Sizdah Bedar". Iranians regard 13th day as a bad omen and believe that by going into the fields and parks they avoid misfortunes. It is also believed that unwed girls can wish for a husband by going into the fields and tying a knot between green shoots, symbolizing a marital bond.
Another tradition of the new year celebrations is "Chahar-Shanbeh Soori". It takes place before Saal Tahvil, at the last Wednesday of the old year, well actually Tuesday night! People set up bon fire, young and old leap over the fires with songs and gestures of merriment like:
(Sorkhi-e to az man) Give me your beautiful red color
(Zardi-e man az to) And take back my sickly pallor!
It means: I will give you my yellow color (sign of sickness), and you give me your fiery red color (sign of healthiness). This is a purification rite and 'suri' itself means red and fiery.
Nowruz Mobarak (Happy Nowruz, Happy New Year);
Eid-eh Shoma Mobarak (Happy New Year to you);
Nowruz Pirooz (Wishing you a Prosperous New Year);
International Nowruz Day
International Nowruz Day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/64/253 of 2010, at the initiative of several countries that share this holiday (Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan.
Inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as a cultural tradition observed by numerous peoples, Nowruz is an ancestral festivity marking the first day of spring and the renewal of nature. It promotes values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families as well as reconciliation and neighbourliness, thus contributing to cultural diversity and friendship among peoples and different communities.
Spring is welcomed by Persians on the first day of Nowruz on 21 of March by gathering with their family members around the serving table. Like any good holiday,food plays a major role at Nowruz. Having a feast is half the reason for getting together! There are specific foods associated with Nowruz: noodles for untying life’s complications, fresh herbs for rebirth, eggs for fertility, and fish for life. On the Nowruz table many people place special sweets because, according to a three-thousand-year-old legend, King Jamshid discovered sugar on Nowruz (the word candy comes from the
Persian word for sugar, qand).
Like any good holiday, food plays a major role at Nowruz. Having a feast is half the reason for getting together! There are specific foods associated with Nowruz: noodles for untying life’s complications, fresh herbs for rebirth, eggs for fertility, and fish for life.
On the Nowruz table many people place special sweets because, according to a three-thousand-year-old legend, King Jamshid discovered sugar on Nowruz (the word candy comes from the Persian word for sugar, qand). These seven sweets are:
Baklava, a sweet, flaky pastry filled with chopped almonds and pistachios soaked in honey-flavored rose water;
Nan-e berenji (rice cookies), made of rice flour flavored with cardamom and garnished with poppy seeds;
Nan-e nokhodchi (chickpea cookies), made of chick-pea flour flavored with cardamom and garnished with pistachios;
Nan-e badami (almond cookies), made of almond flour flavored with cardamom and rose water;
Nan-e gerdui (walnut cookies), made of walnut flour flavored with cardamom and garnished with pistachio slivers;
Noghls (sugar-coated almonds); and
Sohan asali (honey almonds), cooked with honey and saffron and garnished with pistachios.
From the first day of Nowruz celebrations, people visit each other’s house. The main Nowruz food during this while is mainly pastries, sweets, sherbets, nuts and fruits. Nowruz parties are also held and it is a good time for all accompanied with traditional mouthwatering Nowruz food delicacies. Some of the more popular Nowruz dishes include:
Sabzi Polo Mahi
Rice tinted vivid green with herbs and served with fried fish
Sabzi polo is a brilliant green version of the famous Persian "polo," or pilaf, rice dishes. The green comes from a variety of herbs that give an otherwise plain dish a sublime flavor. Pair sabzi polo with fried fish, and you have sabzi polo va mahi, the traditional Nowruz Persian New Year meal. Other herbs that can be used include fenugreek leaves and garlic chives. For an extra special dish, sprinkle a big pinch of saffron into the stock or water.
Persian herbed omelet
A kookoo — also spelled kookoo-ye, kuku, or kou-kou — is a Persian-style egg dish that is similar to an Italianfrittata or an open-faced omelet. Iranians make many, many different types with a variety of flavorings. The kookoo sabzi, flavored with a variety of herbs and tinted a deep green, is probably the most popular.
Persian aromatic rice and noodle pilaf layered with meat
Reshteh polo is a pilaf made with a mixture of rice and toasted noodles that is traditionally served in many Iranian homes on the night before the spring festival of Nowruz. Parcooked rice and noodles are layered with an bewitchingly aromatic meat mixture and gently steamed in the traditional polo manner. The result is fluffy, fragrant and incomparably delicious.
A noodle soup traditionally served on the first day of Nowruz
The noodles are symbolic, as the waves and knots made by the noodles represent the multitude of possibilities of one's life. Untangling the noodles are said to bring good luck and fortune.
A traditional dish of Azeri people, cooked just before the new year
It includes some vegetables, meat and rice which have been cooked and embedded in grape leaves and cooked again. It is considered useful in reaching to wishes.