7 recipes for Nowruz to make a fragrant feast on Persian New Year

Every spring equinox, Iranians all over the globe gather with families and friends to celebrate the Persian New Year, Nowruz. Meaning, β€œnew day,” Nowruz originated as a Zoroastrian celebration, and so it incorporates several rituals, including a deep spring home cleaning, small bonfires and a grand, decorative altar β€” called a haft-seen β€” featuring seven symbolic objects, each beginning with the letter “S” in Farsi.

While the specific items often vary, they may include sprouted wheatgrass (sabzeh), which symbolizes rebirth; oleaster or wild olive (senjed), representing love; an apple (seeb), meaning beauty or well-being; a pudding made of germinated wheat (samanu), for strength; the spice sumac (somagh), which represents the sunrise; vinegar (serkeh), for patience; and garlic (seer) which stands for medicine and health. A goldfish in a bowl of water, painted eggs, candles, tulips or hyacinths, gold coins and a book of poetry or a copy of the Quran may also be on the table.

Perhaps the most crucial element of the celebration is the meal served on the eve of the equinox. Piles and piles of herbs are picked, washed and chopped, the freshest fish is procured, long-grain rice is soaked, and sweets are made or purchased. Here are 7 dishes to make for your Nowruz table.

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