Nowruz: a celebration of Iranian New Year

Updated: Feb 26

January 30, 2022

There is beauty in anticipation. Whether it’s the tingling in your stomach before a big meeting or the visualization of achieving a goal that propels you forward, anticipation is enough to persevere. There is hope in what is to come.


At this point in the season, particularly in Minneapolis, it can feel as if Autumn is a forgotten memory and yet the warmth of the Spring sun is too far away. It is from this valley that the promise of Nowruz awaits; Iranian New Year, or Nowruz, is the traditional celebration of the start of the Iranian solar calendar, beginning on the Spring Equinox and lasting 13 days. Nowruz is a public holiday in 13 countries and celebrated in countless more, with traditions including the cleaning of homes in preparation of the new year, purchasing flowers (hyacinth and tulip are popular choices), visiting family and friends, and of course, delicious food.


One of the most popular dishes is ‘sabzi polo’, a dish of rice and flavorful herbs, usually served with fish. Traditionally the rice is pilaf style, flavored with many of the same herbs found throughout Caspian’s menu including coriander, fenugreek, garlic, and parsley. Bursting with freshness, this dish exemplifies the anticipation of the year ahead and the seasonality of the ingredients makes for an unforgettable bite.


Another key element of the celebration is Haft-sin (pronounced ‘seen’), the arrangement of seven (‘Haft’) symbolic items whose names start with the letter ‘Sin’. This grouping of items represents nature, and thus it is common for families to create the most beautiful table possible, embodying values both traditional and spiritual. The primary items included are wheat, Samanu (a wheat germ sweet pudding), olives, vinegar, apple, garlic, and sumac.

Haft-sin
Haft-sin: grouping of items represents nature

If the anticipation of Spring feels too far away, stop by Caspian Bistro to sample the flavors described above. Or, consider an easy week-night appetizer that you can make at home yourself that is guaranteed to add flavor and freshness to any meal. We find that simple is often best; simply marinate feta in high quality olive oil, toasted coriander, and cumin, and serve with our house made Barbari bread. You will find all of these ingredients available for purchase in our market!


Whether for a special occasion or a change of scenery, whether familiar with Persian cuisine or interested in exploring our diverse and vibrant culture, let us serve you. Going to the Caspian isn’t eating out, it’s dinner with friends…and in the dead of Winter, there isn’t anything better.


 





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