Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Nurooz Cometh

(Our Haft Seen Table, moments after Nurooz on March 19, 2008)

Above is my very hurried Haft Seen (Seven 'S's) Table. It is my favorite part of Nurooz. It is also usually well planned, considering one needs to allow beans/grains to sprout at least 10 days before the New Year. This requires one to keep track of time, monitor sprouts and have a couple of backups. I did none of these things this year, mostly because I realized Nurooz was approaching about three days before it arrived.

Allow me to rewind a little: I worked from home half of Wednesday, got my hair colored during my 'lunch' hour ran to the Persian store and purchased most of the necessary items for my Haft Seen Table. This is akin to trying to buy a Christmas tree and ornaments around 4pm on Christmas Eve. Which is why my sprouts and hyacinths are the Persian cousins of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. And why I am missing three of my seven items. And why the apple is too big for the tiny bowls I usually use to decorate my table. My only joy in all of this? My perfect little gold fish. Especially since this is the first time M has allowed me to have gold fish in the last four years.

(Sidenote: He hates it when the fish die as soon as they get home--which is really sad--and as such wouldn't let me buy fish that would symbolize the brevity of life instead of longevity/fertility).

This year, partially due to work and partially due to M's work(I'm his little helper sometimes), I have been distracted. On the Wednesday of Nurooz, I came home after my frantic beauty/shopping excursion--with its many, many stops--and tried to do my Spring Cleaning (which in real Iranian homes is a month-long process almost regardless of the size or the average cleanliness of the house) in less than three hours. During that time, I also wanted to cook the traditional Nurooz dinner of herbed rice and fish, set the Nurooz table and respond to co-workers who suddenly remembered a laundry list of questions they needed answers to immediately. Needless to say, I barely finished a very superficial cleaning, spent almost two hours solving co-worker problems and was frantically assembling my table when the year changed.

Per our beliefs, the rest of the year follows the tone of what you were doing at the time of the year changing over. Which means, my year will be frantic. Hmm.

Finally, things started settling down--by which I mean so much time passed that I stopped feeling guilty for not sending Nurooz cards and making the traditional dinner three nights too late--and we decided to take a break from our working weekend to go to the beach. Just before we left, I changed the fish's water and fed them.

Now they're swimming in the big bowl in the sky. And my Haft Seen table is even sadder than it was this morning.


Jayne said...

I loved this. tradition has always been big in my family but often it gets overshadowed by our busy lives, and that is always disappointing. still, I think your table looks lovely. what is the significance of the fish?

Girl With Curious Hair said...

The fish symbolize life, as do the sprouts. The other Seens on the table symbolize fertility, health and bounty/prosperity.