Celebrated by Iranians, people in Afghanistan, Kurds, and by many others with ties to Persia and to Zoroastrians, Nowruz and the coming of spring underscores rebirth, and reaffirmation of growth and abundance. Alas, this year, it also marks a violent confrontation in Libya.
Nowruz or New Day, "has been celebrated for at least 3,000 years and is deeply rooted in the rituals and traditions of the Zoroastrian (This was the religion of ancient Persia before the advent of Islam in 7th century A.D.), " according to this piece from the Iran Chamber Society, a non profit that seeks to promote understanding of Iran and its history.
The seven traditional items key to the 13 day celebration are these:
"Seeb (apple), Sabze (green grass), Serke (vinager), Samanoo (a meal made out of wheat), Senjed (a special kind of berry), Sekke (coin), and Seer (garlic). Sometimes instead of Serke they put Somagh (sumak, an Iranian spice). Zoroastrians today do not have the seven "S"s but they have the ritual of growing seven seeds as a reminder that this is the seventh feast of creation, while their sprouting into new growth symbolized resurrection and eternal life to come."
As the new spring dawns, I am visualizing benevolent dictators, and peaceful gatherings around food everywhere.