Nowruz marks the beginning of spring

A Haft-sin table graces the lobby of the Wes Watkins Center for International Trade Development at Oklahoma State University in honor of Nowruz, a holiday celebrated across Central Asia to mark the beginning of spring and a new year. Michelle Charles/Stillwater News Press

The Wes Watkins Center for International Trade Development at Oklahoma State University is displaying a Haft-sin table in honor of Nowruz, a holiday celebrated on the Vernal Equinox by 300 million people worldwide.

In Iran, it’s the Persian New Year celebration, OSU professor Pouya Jahanshahi said.

The holiday has been celebrated for more than 3,000 years across Central Asia, through the Balkans, the Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions, in the Caucasus and the Middle East.

It continues to be celebrated as a holy day for Zoroastrians, Bahais and some Muslim communities and as a secular holiday for members of several faiths.

Most homes create a Haft-sin table, which traditionally contains seven foods that begin with the Persian letter sin (pronounced “seen”).

Sabze – wheat, barley or lentil sprouts grown in a dish to symbolize rebirth in Spring

Samanu – sweet, creamy pudding made from wheat germ to symbolize the sweetness of life and fertility

Senjed – sweet, dry fruit of the lotus tree, to symbolize love. The fruit and flowers of the lotus tree is said to make people fall in love.

Sumac – a spice made from crushed sumac berries, symbolizing the color of dawn when Good conquers Evil

Serke (vinegar) – to symbolize patience

Sib (age apple) – to symbolize beaty and health in the new year

Sir (garlic) – to symbolize medicine and good health in the new year

Other elements of the Haft-sin include a mirror to symbolize reflection on the past year; candles to represent happiness, warmth and light; decorated eggs as a symbol of fertility; coins to symbolize prosperity and a bowl of goldfish to symbolize new life.

Nowruz is celebrated around March 21 but the date and time can change a bit from year to year based on the exact time the exact time the sun crosses the celestial equator, equalizing night and day.

Twitter: @mcharlesNP

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