By Malika Burieva
On March 20, 2023, New York welcomed the first day of spring. To many, it is another change of season. For those of cultures in the Middle East, South Asia and Central Asia, it’s a celebration as they welcome a holiday known as “spring new year,” also known as Persian spring new year. In short, it is called Nowruz.
Nowruz’s origins are from Zoroastrianism, the oldest religion to have ever formed. This holiday welcomes the first day of spring, the fresh start of a new season and a new year following the solar hijri calendar with “Nowruz” translating to “new day” in Persian. A Nowruz Haft-Sin is a table set up to welcome the spring new year. It is a Persian tradition and “Haft-Sin” literally translates to “seven s’s” because all of the items displayed on the table start with the letter “s” and it is essential to welcome the new year with these items. They all have their symbolic meaning and value.
On Wednesday, March 22, a new club on campus, Asian Students Intercultural Alliance (ASIA), set up a Nowruz Haft-Sin Tabling event at the lobby of the University Center to educate people about a holiday that many are not familiar with. The Haft-Sin consisted of items such as the sabzeh (wheat, barley or lentil sprouts), symbolizing rebirth and growth; seer (garlic), symbolizing medicine and health; seeb (apple), symbolizing beauty and health; serkeh (vinegar), symbolizing age and patience; sekkeh (coins), symbolizing wealth and prosperity; and the sonbol (hyacinth flower), symbolizing spring and the renewal of nature. Each passerby painted eggs (similar to that for Easter) another significant part of the holiday symbolizing fertility and new beginnings. In exchange for participating and expressing interest, the passersby received sweets symbolizing happiness and joy. This reporter, of Central Asian descent, tabled the entirety of the event as vice president of ASIA, along with Kennie Cervantes, president, Jenna Steinberg, public relations manager, and Yasmeen Syedda-Hansley, secretary candidate.
Nowruz is a holiday of joyous occasion after months of cold hibernation. It is the heart of the east. Nowruz has always had an important impact on this reporter’s upbringing as an American-Central Asian learning to appreciate spring in a cultural light. It is not simply the changing of seasons, but a season of forgiveness, hope and family. Nowruz Mubarak to all that celebrate!