Nowruz (or Norooz) is the name for Persian New Year, celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox which is apparently tonight at 11:20pm, as best I can tell. This is a very big holiday in Persian culture, involving weeks of food preparation, house cleaning, etc. I’m not qualified to delve deeply into explaining the traditions connected to this holiday, but it seems that the overall the theme is this: cleanse yourself and your household and welcome the new life of spring. I wonder if the concept of “spring cleaning” is somehow related to this Persian tradition, which probably originated with Zoroastrianism in that region, a long, long time ago. I think we might have stolen Easter egg decorating from this holiday too…. :)
Nowruz also emphasizes forgiveness of yourself and others, reconciling relationships and readying yourself to start over in a new year. I can get behind a holiday like that! Traditional New Year’s dishes include Herb Kuku, which is described in a previous post, and Ash-e Resh-teh, a vegetable and noodle soup. Ash-e resh-teh was my first introduction to Persian food when I ate it at the Raleigh International Festival about 5 years ago.
(photo by KayOne73, from Flickr.com, creative commons-licensed – because I didn’t have time to make the soup yet this month)
The soup recipe is very complex, so I’m not going to spell it all out, but I’ll point you to a couple of online recipes. Once in a while it’s worth taking the time to make a big pot of this hearty soup, I love the flavor combinations and how all the herbs come together. It’s got to be chock-full of iron too, with all of those beans and greens, yum!
I really enjoy this blog, lots of nice pictures and step-by-step instructions with the recipes — http://mypersiankitchen.com/asheh-reshteh-persian-noodle-soup/
This is the one I’ve done before, similar to the first, but with an additional meat garnish. That makes it a bit more complicated, but I like the flavor of saffron in there — http://shabakskitchen.blogspot.com/2008/09/ash-e-reshteh.html