Yesterday was the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and for most of us that is all it was known as. For my friends from Iran, the first day of spring is also one of their biggest holidays called Nowruz. It is their New Years Day.
In the picture above you see me standing at the table of the Haft Seen. Each item on the table symbolizes something such as the garlic representing good health.
We had a traditional Nowruz dinner of fish and rice which was delicious. I was with a family who are dear friends and in fact I call little sister, niece, nephew etc. They tell I am part of the family. When the grandparents came, I joked with them that I cooked the food, but as a chef I can’t tell my secret recipes.
Spring began at 4:58 pm our time here in my city, so that was the moment Nowruz started. A few minutes before 4:58 we sat at the Haft Seen for silent prayer. At 4:58 we wished each other a Happy Nowruz with hugs. Then we sat down to eat dinner.
I had to leave to go teach my final class for the quarter, but before I left I expressed my wishes and blessings for the whole family, a family that is very special to me.
Celebrations like Nowruz are so important for my friends from other countries to observe to keep their culture. It is hard to leave one’s home country and start over and special holidays like Nowruz are times that could make it harder because even though my friends faced hardships in Iran, at least Nowruz was a huge holiday there. Here it is only a holiday within their own culture. Getting time off from work or school would be difficult here.
Each time I join in cultural celebrations, I feel honored to be included. I also reflect on how Jesus spent a lot of time visiting people in their homes. I like to think of it as in a way Jesus did visit my friends yesterday through me.
As I was saying my goodbyes, my little sister, the hostess, smiled and told me I am part of their family. It is such a blessing to be part of their family.
Happy Nowruz, Thank you for reading. God Bless.