Norooz / Nowruz (pronounced “no-rooz”), is a worldwide celebration, marking the beginning of the Persian New Year. The word Norooz means “new day” and is a season of new life and well wishes for the year ahead. Haft-Seen (or Haft-Sin) is Persian for “Seven S’s” and refers to seven symbolic items that start with S in Farsi. These items are placed on a table along with other items as part of the Persian New Year tradition.
Traditionally Persians celebrate the new year with a big gathering of family and friends while sharing a feast. As a company we embrace this and have for many years created a Norooz Feast and Haft-Seen Bundle so that families across the UK have everything they need to celebrate at home with loved ones.
We live in London, which in itself is a huge melting pot, rich with culture, food and festivities from near and far. Being part of this is incredible and I want to fully immerse the children into different ways of life, while also passing down our heritage. When we had the girls this was always very important to me (as it was to my parents also) and events such as Norooz are the perfect starting point.
Lily has always had her help me create the Haft-Seen spread (see pics below of our creations), however this year, as she is a little older, we decided to expand on this and went into her nursery to teach the 3 to 4 year olds children in her class about Haft-Seen and Norooz through some fun activities we invented. Lily was so proud and couldn’t wait to help set up the table and show her friends all of the items.
1) Firstly we baked some bread, which arguably isn’t very Norooz focused, however the act of cooking together and creating something to eat around the table is… and it was fun!
2) We moved on to the Haft-Seen table, where we played a game of ‘I’ve got something in my bag’. The children pulled out one of the 7 item’s beginning with S, they told me what it was i.e. “garlic” I then explained what this item meant - so for garlic it’s ‘taking care of oneself’ and then Dad would teach them how to say the word in Farsi so for garlic it’s “seer”.
3) Next up we painted wooden eggs to display on the Haft-Seen. Much like painting eggs is a tradition for Easter, for thousands of years, Iranians have decorated eggs for Norooz.
4) Mum reinvented the song ‘If you’re happy and you know it’, so we sang a song together and it went:
“If you’re happy and you know it say Norooz,
if you’re happy and you know it say Pirooz,
if you’re happy and you know it and you really love to show it,
if you’re happy and you know it say Norooz Pirooz”
5) And we finished up teaching the children how to do some Persian dancing to a children’s song we found on YouTube that is about preparing for Norooz celebrations:
Teaching and inspiration links
If you are looking to get started with teaching your children about Norooz (or anything else Persian culture related) my friend over at Little Persian Learning not only sells Hands on Haft-Seen kits and Activity Boxes, but also gives great tips on her instagram account. I think I’ll be downloading the Activities Printouts asap! She even has a free Digital Classroom Kit Download Kit full of fun printouts and learnings.
Chai and Conversation also has some great techniques for learning Farsi.
And lastly you can read our ‘Ode to Norooz’ posts that explain about the Norooz Family Feast and Haft-Seen Set Up over on the blog.
As always, if you have any questions DM us on Instagram or pop over an email to email@example.com.