Confession time: I’m kind of superstitious and celebrating Nowruz and Sizdah Bedar (Nature Day) is my spiritual jam. Last year was a bit of a dud due to the pandemic, so this year, we were on a mission to turn things around with a mini picnic – our own spin on the grand Persian festivities H is used to.
Trying to explain our annual rituals to my Western pals often feels like narrating a fantasy novel – they’re either just not interested or baffled by the fire-jumping antics during Chaharshanbe Suri. Celebrating in the UK can be challenging, but I see it as a chance to sprinkle a little Persian magic and educate the more curious souls around me.
Blooming into Spring
Nowruz, for me, is all about bringing nature indoors as spring kicks in. This time, it became an eco-lesson for Cyrus, who diligently cared for his sabzeh (lentil sprouts) every day before school. His secret weapon? A snazzy Brass Plant Mister from Amazon for £20 – I mean even sabzeh deserves a spa day doesn’t it? After filling it up, all he had to do was point, push, and voila! It became a windowsill superstar, proving that watering plants can be cute and functional. With his sabzeh conquered, Cyrus has decided to level up to bigger houseplants. Move over, little sprouts – there’s a new plant parent in town.
Testing the Waters on Nature Day
Sizdah Bedar (Nature Day), as I’ve spilled in a previous post, unfolds 13 days after Nowruz. Persians take the party outdoors, picnicking with friends and family because being indoors is a no-go for good luck. The sabzeh, the green star of our haft-sin display, bids farewell, tossed into running water.
A Drive Down Memory Lane
In the good old days, families would strap sabzeh to their car bonnets, driving off with leafy pride – and sometimes in their leafy Pride. However, health and safety quirks in the UK meant no car bonnet rides for us. Instead, we opted for photos of Cyrus posing with the sabzeh on our car bonnet.
A Picnic Extravaganza and the quest for Kotlet
Fast forward to our Sizdah Bedar (Nature Day) picnic in Plessey Woods Country Park in Northumberland, where we traded Persian kotlet for a hastily prepared lunch. Don’t worry; it was enough for H, Cyrus, and pesar khaleh Esi (Uncle Esi). Who needs kotlet when you’ve got nature, right?
Upon arrival, the curious stares from dog-walkers doubled as our sabzeh made its debut. Who knew people would be so intrigued by lentil sprouts? As we strolled to the river, a group of young girls surprised us with a cheerful “Sizdah Bedar Mobarak!” This is similar to saying Merry Christmas I guess for the Brits reading this. Cue Cyrus’s beaming smile – public sabzeh appreciation at its best.
Wishes in the Stream
Into the woodland we went, reaching a serene stream – the chosen spot for our sabzeh casting ritual. As Cyrus offloaded his green buddies into the water, we made wishes, and some sabzeh rebels required a gentle nudge downstream courtesy of a trusty stick.
Pro tip: Tying a knot and making a wish for a husband is optional. I thought better of doing that!
Wrapping up our sabzeh flinging and Nature Day efforts, we left Plessey Woods with our sabzeh wishes afloat and a car bonnet with newfound glory. As we cruised back home, Cyrus proudly pointed back towards the woods and the sabzeh kingdom he had left behind.
Back in our garden, the BBQ sizzled, and we clinked glasses to a year filled with more sabzeh adventures, Persian charm, and the promise of an ever-growing green thumb in the family. Here’s to a sabzeh-tastic year ahead – because when life hands you lentils, make sabzeh magic!