Another Spring, Another Nowruz, Nature can be kind…

Nature can be kind even though it has not been so in the last few days in Japan…I went out to park Montsouris, close to my apartment in Paris to take some pictures from the gentler side of Nature.

Everything was so beautiful I almost forgot the Japanese meltdown (nuclear and else…) for a few minutes; the purple crocus made me nostalgic:

I was born in Khorasan, the world’s most important saffron producing region, and the yellow pistils of this modest bulb flower is what becomes the most expensive spice in the world: zaferan or saffron.

Now back to the park where the most flamboyant were the primaveras (primulas):

I ask the eternal question: is anything more effortlessly beautiful than a flower?

I have to wait for the tulips to come out one of these days:

nature weaves beautiful rugs:

The pink blossoms over a stream were so pretty:

This one was earlier today at Saint Germain:

but right outside my place, the pansies were going crazy:

I took the picture with a big smile on my face—I love pansies—and later today I made this dress out of these gorgeous flowers:

To see my previous posts about the persian New Year and to see some beautiful poetry:

Last year’s Green Nowruz go here

Nowruz 1388 go here

Haft seen, haft sheen and everything in between go here

“Pourquoi les hommes ne savent-ils pas
Que la capucine n’est pas un hasard…” Sepehri


Nowruz 1389: It’s a Green Green world

First day of  Spring  2010 is the beginning of the Persian New Year of 1389—Happy Nowruz everybody!

sabzeh wheat sprouts michele roohani nowruz norooz

In previous years, I have talked a lot about Haft Seen (seven S’s on the new year’s spread) and the calendar; for this year, I decided to tell you which of the seven really symbolize Nowruz for me. One is Sabzeh or wheat sprouts (above) and the other is Sonbol, the hyacinth (below):

spring norooz michele roohani jacinthe hyacinth nowruz

I am still in Los Angeles and the Wilshire Corridor is awash in Nowruz banners like this one:

nowruz wilshire corridor farhang banner michele roohani

My little sabzeh looks lonely among downtown high-rises:

downtown los angeles sabzeh nowruz michele roohani

Being close to the L.A.’s flower market, I left to take pictures early morning and I wasn’t disappointed. I loved the fragrance of these gorgeous stocks,

giroflée stock flower michele roohani los angeles flower market

and the beautiful tulips that scream “spring is here” in so many colors:

tulips happy nowruz michele roohani spring norouz

I bought as much as I could carry and rushed home to take pictures.

sabzeh hyacinth norouz michele roohani marina del rey

As a child, I remember listening to the Iranian singer, Pouran Shapouri, sing Eyd oumad bahaar oumad…

pouran shahpouri iranian singer jadidonline michele roohani

in our new Eyd dresses (new year’s dress) that my mom had made for my sister and I.

new year nowruz dresses michele roohani iris and ivy

Vigen’s song, Shokoufeh (blossom), was another of my favorites as the harbinger of Nowruz.

cherry blossoms shokoufeh michele roohani spring

 يكي دو روز ديگر از پگاه
چو چشم باز مي‌كني
زمانه زير و رو
زمينه پرنگار مي شود


زمين شكاف مي‌خورد
به دشت سبزه مي‌زند
هر آن چه مانده بود زير خاك
هر آنچه خفته بود زير برف

جوان و شسته رفته آشكار مي‌شود

نگار من
اميد نوبهار من
لبي به خنده باز كن
ببين چگونه از گلي
خزان باغ ما بهار مي‌شود

 سیاوش کسرایی

 Sabzeh shows up in the new year celebrations in many countries:

michele roohani sabzeh nowruz Kyrgyzstan tajikistan

Let’s not forget my favorite, the goldfish:

nowruz goldfish michele roohani haft seen

Goldfish in a bowl represents life and the end of the month of Esfand (pisces).

nowruz 1389 michele roohani hyacinths norouz norooz

for more on the traditions of Nowrouz: NoRuz, Norouz, haft-seen, haft-sheen, etc…

Norouz 1388, the blooming of a new year
Pouran singing about Eyd

a great slide show of  Nowruz gold fish farms

Norouz 1388, the blooming of a new year

The Persian new year, called Norouz (or Nowrouz)—New Day—is just around the corner and Southern California nights have the sweetly fragrant scent of jasmine and citrus flowers. Last year’s  Norouz blog  remains my  most read post so please visit it for a detailed account of Haft-seen and some great pictures.

camelia bud michele roohani

Tulips don’t know much about the financial crisis and narcissi couldn’t care less about job layoffs; they come out with their effortless beauty, reminding us that nature renews its vows with life every spring.

pink tulips spring norouz michele roohani

Before 1564, most of Europe celebrated the New Year with the first day of Spring.

pink tulip spring 2009 michele roohani

The Gregorian calendar changed that to January first. To me, it is only natural to start the year with the first day of spring and not in the dead of winter…

red striped tulip michele roohani

“Give me the splendid silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling,
Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturb’d,
Give me to warble spontaneous songs recluse by myself, for my own ears only,
Give me solitude—give me Nature—give me again, O Nature, your primal sanities!
Walt Witman

pansies banafsheh spring michele roohani

The Norouz celebration lasts 13 days and is rooted in the 3,000-year-old tradition of Zorastrianism. March 21st will be the first day of spring, the first day of the new year. The fragrance of these lemon tree blossoms reminds me of a Norouz I spent in Shiraz years ago…

lemon tree blossom spring michele roohani

 This poem of Fereydoon Moshiri always makes me smile…

بوی باران، بوی سبزه، بوی خاک
شاخه های شسته، باران خورده، پاک
آسمان آبی و ابر سپید
برگ های سبز بید
عطر نرگس، رقص باد
نغمه شوق پرستوهای شاد
خلوت گرم کبوترهای مست …
نرم نرمک می رسد اینک بهار
خوش به حال روزگار

خوش به حال چشمه ها و دشت ها
خوش به حال دانه ها و سبزه ها
خوش به حال غنچه های نیمه باز
خوش به حال دختر میخک – که می خندد به ناز –
خوش به حال جام لبریز از شراب
خوش به حال آفتاب

sabzeh wheat germs michele roohani

Would it be the dawn of 1388 or 2547 like some purist Persians suggest? It’s surreal to see this anachronistic image of the late shah’s crown in the middle of Santa Monica boulevard wishing you a happy new year in Persian!

pahlavi crown amir michele roohani west los angels santa monica boulevard

I just can not resist sharing these beautiful flowers with you:

violet ranunculus spring 2009 norouz michele roohani

This is a celebration of Life.

pink ranunculus yellow poppy spring 2009 norouz michele roohani

It is time to recalibrate our priorities and do some spring cleaning. Just look at the beautiful baby green of this Hydrangea:

hydrengea baby green michele roohani

The hyacinths (sonbol) or the quintessential Norouz flower:

hyacinths spring 2009 1388 norouz michele roohani

 I wouldn’t dare translating this beautiful Rumi poem about Norouz:

اندر دل من مها دل افروز توئي
ياران هستند ليك دلسوز توئي
شادند جهانيان به نوروز و به عيد
عيد من و نوروز من امروز توئي

anemone ranunculus michele roohani

Don’t forget to visit my last year’s Norouz post.

fish carps michele roohani

Norouz Pirouz!

No Ruz, Norouz, haft-seen, haft-sheen, etc…

Happy New Year to all of you hamvatans! These are some pictures of the ghost of Nowruz past and present. I remember new shoes, the intoxicating scent of hyacinths, the goldfish and the mint bills – and of course the sound of naghareh when the year changes.

norooz 1387 micheleroohani 2008

No Ruz is the day when life’s glory is celebrated; it usually occurs on March 21st or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed. It’s a feast of renewal and freshness – No (new) Ruz (day).

norooz hyacinth micheleroohani

It has often been suggested that the famous Persepolis Complex, or at least the palace of Apadana and Hundred Columns Hall, were built for the specific purpose of celebrating Noruz by Darius the Great (522 -485 BC). It is celebrated in other countries as well as Iran. Tajikistan is one of them.

norooz sofreh micheleroohani

In spite of trying hard, the islamic republic of Iran has not been able to erase this semi-pagan spring festival; they have tried to replace Zarathustra‘s spring equinox celebration with the muslim eyds to no avail.

norooz goldfish micheleroohani

The original haft sheen or seven sh‘s were: Sharab (wine), Shekar (sugar), Sham (Candle), Shir (milk), Sharbat (Sherbet), Shaneh (comb), Shahd (nectar) but they were replaced by seven S’s to eliminate sharab (wine) after the arab conquest.

norooz sweets micheleroohani

The haft seen is made of:
Sabzeh – wheat or lentil sprouts growing in a dish symbolizing rebirth
Samanu – pudding made of wheat symbolizing wealth
Senjed – dried fruit of Jujube tree symbolizing love
Seer – garlic symbolizing medicine
Seeb – apples symbolizing beauty and health
Somaq – sumac berries symbolizing the sun
Serkeh – vinegar symbolizing age
Sonbol – hyacinth flower symbolizing the arrival of spring
Sekkeh – gold coins symbolizing prosperity and wealth

norooz coins micheleroohani

Too much information, wouldn’t you say?

norooz sabzeh micheleroohani

“Pourquoi les hommes ne savent-ils pas
Que la capucine n’est pas un hasard…” Sepehri

norooz ayneh micheleroohani


آمد بهار ای دوستان منزل سوی بستان کنیم
گرد غریبان چمن خیزید تا جولان کنیم

امروز چون زنبورها پران شویم از گل به گل
تا در عسل خان جهان شش گوشه آبادان کنیم

آمد رسولی از چمن کاین طبل را پنهان مزن
ما طبل خان عشق را از نعره ها ویران کنیم

بشنو سماع آسمان خیزید ای دیوانگان
جانم فدای عاشقان امروز جان افشان کنیم

آتش در این عالم زنیم وین چرخ را برهم زنیم
وین عقل پابرجای را چون خویش سرگردان کنیم

کوبیم ما بی پا و سر گه پای میدان گاه سر
ما کی به فرمان خودیم تا این کنیم و آن کنیم

نی نی چو چوگانیم ما در دست شه گردان شده
تا صد هزاران گوی را در پای شه غلطان کنیم

خامش کنیم و خامشی هم مایه دیوانگیست
این عقل باشد کآتشی در پنبه پنهان کنیم


To hear my good friend (Houri)’s voice accompanying the preparation of haft-seen, click on the view here.

About the seven sh’s, somebody mentioned the omnipresent SHAHNAMEH on the Norouz spread and I have to agree – the Great Book‘s almost always been on mine even now that it’s become the tame haft-seen. For some comic book version (for the heavy readers) check this site out.

My Nowruz 1390 (2011) here

For Nowruz 1389 (2010) go here

for Nowruz 1388 (2009)  go here