Who has not made the infamous annual New Year’s resolution only to see it drift away as the weeks went by, and the hype and motivation of the first few weeks of the New Year are behind us? Anyone?
Persians celebrate New Year (aka Norooz, which literally means “New Day”), on the Spring equinox, however it is not a one day celebration. March is a month filled with festivities and traditions that are over 3,000 years old and deeply rooted in the Persian culture. Each small and big celebration intends to prepare you for the upcoming New Year and put you in a renewal mindset. Families start with a traditional “Khaneh Tekaani” (aka Spring cleaning), buy new clothes or furniture, prepare a Sofreh-e Haft Sin (aka the Seven S’s spread”), and partake in different celebratory traditions leading to the New Year and beyond.
One of these traditions is called “Samanoo Pazoon”, which is the cooking of a germinated wheat based sweet pudding. Samanoo is one of the items that is put on the “Haft Seen” Spread, and represents the reward of patience and sweet life, as the process takes several days. Although this is not a gluten free based food, its emotional and spiritual nutritional values are priceless. Every year, a close friend of our family invites us, and other friends and relatives, for a night of wish making, dancing, eating and celebrations. Everyone steers the pot with their wishes, as if some Genie would grant us our deepest desires. The only difference is that you are not limited to 3 wishes only.
Whether you believe in the power of a wheat pudding making your wishes come true or not, the process puts your mind in the right place. It gives one hope, and intrinsic motivation for change and renewal, as opposed to a simple countdown and extrinsic motivation that will fizzle out as the weeks go by. It also teaches us a great lesson we could all use in these days of predominantly instant gratification: patience.
So, what is your wish?