Women and Noruz celebrations

March 17, 2008

Tehran – With the approach of spring, Iranians are preparing themselves to welcome in the festive season and the renewal of their calendar year with the traditional Noruz celebrations. Women play an important role at this time that deserves to be noted.

During Esfand, the last month of the Iranian year, women roll up their sleeves to spring clean their houses throwing out old, unwanted stuff, organizing the closets and cabinets, and cleaning up the house in preparation for the New Year.
Women also used to cook special sweets for the celebrations but this is a practice which has almost died out in the hectic life of today. It was thought that the good smell created by cooking sweets would attract the souls of the dead back to their old homes in the final days of the year.
Growing sabzeh (sprouting seeds) for the traditional Haft Seen decoration is another of the women’s responsibilities. The growing of the seeds by women is a symbolic gesture in itself -- in ancient times, women were the ones who did the farming and gardening, because men went hunting or took the herds to graze. Moreover, in ancient mythologies, all the deities of birth and growth were female. The colored eggs placed alongside the Haft Seen arrangement are also the joint product of mothers and children. Just a few hours before the renewal of the year women decorate the traditional Haft Seen tablecloth.
During the Noruz holidays, Iranian families get together and visit each other’s houses and once again it is the women who usually play the main role in welcoming the guests.
Women cook special food for the festivities of Sizdah Bedar (the 13th day of Noruz), including baghali polo (rice cooked with broad beans), ash (a thick soup), kuku (a kind of Iranian omelet) and Kufteh (Iranian meatballs).
Noruz would lose its meaning without the important role played by women.
Tehran Times Women’s Desk extends its congratulations on the occasion of the New Year and Noruz Festival to all our readers. In particular, we offer our congratulations to all our honorable Iranian women and their families.
NM/M