Aidé shomā mobarakto Iranians everywhere, and this year is a very special one with it being the dawn of a new Millennium.
The Iranian New Year, celebrated at the Spring Equinox. is the type we all like, lasting for a good fortnight.
This year is marked in the Iranian calendar as the Year 1400 which is the number of years since Mohammed.
And it is celebrated by 300 million people around the world and has been designated International Nowruz Day by the UN.
Hamam bam: Istanbul
Of course everything stops in the motherland but also in Afghanistan, Albania, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, areas of India. And Turkey.
And among the Iranian diaspora around the world.
Who knew, of course, that one of the largest populations outside Iran is in Los Angeles.
Where we all know they love a party but where this year they will be celebrating online.
Like all festivities in the Middle East the festivities revolve around the table.
You’d expect candles and wouldn’t be disappointed and you’ll also see touches that are familiar in Eastern worship such as decorated eggs.
The Haft Sin table includes seven symbolic items starting with the Farsi letter ‘S’.
‘Sir’ is the Persian word for garlic and gives protection from illness and evil and ‘Serkeh’, or vinegar, represents longevity and patience.
Of course these are mere flavours for the much bigger dishes of sumptuous Middle Eastern stews,
You’ll eat fish, meats, rice, noodles and beans with a cornucopia of spices.
There are a choice of dinners, my favourite sounding Fesenjan, a duck, or chicken, stew in walnut and pomegranate sauce.
There are few better-read people than the Iranians and poetry books and the Quran are centrepiece.
Though why there is a goldfish…. well, does it matter.
Or why they spend these days throwing wheat grass into flowing waters… something about absorbing negative energy.
So how could us non- Iranians join in?
Well we can send children into the streets to bang their pots and jump over fires… a typical weekend in Glasgow!
Just like Western civilisation there is a gift-giving figure, Amoo Nowruz (Uncle Nowruz).
So here’s some Iranian New Year party music to get into the spirit.
Of course all of this I should have seen first hand, only for my much-anticipated trip to Iran being cancelled.
I prefer to think of it as only delayed.
Aidé shomā mobarak.