Forever Under Construction

S… like Sabzeh

Posted in Iran by homeyra on March 16, 2008

Nowruz, new day, the first day of spring is the Iranian New Year.

One feels Nowruz approaching through scents and aromas, first burgeons and the temperate weather. It usually means happy times, holidays, family and friends gatherings …

With this year’s cold winter, the pollution, the bad cold I have caught and the daily dose of far from great news, I felt Nowruz mainly through the internet: Since a few weeks ago all the New Year related search engine terms of the blog have risen and my old posts such as Nowruz countdown and Haft Sin have remained on top.

Apparently traditions date Nowruz back to 15,000 years ago. Celebrating the revival of the life cycle seems to be deeply rooted in our psyche. Its rituals are adapted and observed by people of all faiths in present day Iran and beyond: it is a perfect conciliatory event.

In a sane world, we would seriously consider to turn this ancient festival into a universal green event and start thinking in terms of beautifying the earth – but I guess we need more than a few elections to get there.

Our fledgling lentil Sabzeh

Sabzeh, grass, is one of the seven elements of the Haft Sin sorfreh, tray or table. If you wish to grow some, the instructions are very simple:

Soak a handful of grain seeds – wheat or lentil etc. – for a few days until it burgeons, about three days. Change the water every day.

Spread the seeds on a flat tray and cover it with a piece of humid cloth. Soak the cloth regularly.

Remove the cloth after two days. Sprinkle a little water on to maintain the humidity, not too much lest it rots.

When the seeds are fully grown, water it daily directly but gently from the tap and remove the extra water. By that time the roots are strong enough to keep the Sabzeh together.jashn_small7.gif

Fun links:
Nowruz, another delightful post by Pedestrian
Start your Nowruz firework
God must be a programmer


8 Responses

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  1. Pedestrian said, on March 16, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    I guess all the Iranian bloggers have their mind on the Nowruz festivities! 😉

    But I have a problem: I did exactly what you said, and I had been told by everyone to do it 10 days ahead … and my greens are still not up!!!!!!!!!!!! They have sprinted, but only the white roots are out so far and not the green ones!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I refuse to buy greens, so if they don’t grow I will just have to do without them!

    “In a sane world, we would seriously consider to turn this ancient festival into a universal green event and start thinking in terms of beautifying the earth”

    I’ve always thought about that! Christmas is in the middle of cold, cruel winters and look what they’ve done with it! If you really sit down and calculate all the meaning and potential existent in Nowruz … it’s breathtaking really!

    I’m not going to even begin saying anything about the Iranian government, … But I’ve always thought that the Iranian diaspora had the power to do something about it. But they don’t. They actually do more harm than good. I was at a “Nowruz bazaar” today and it was just terrible … A disco for dancing bandari … and nothing more.

    In other places, it is again either a disco, an event for “hip, sophisticated” Iranians to hang out or just an excuse to raise the pre-revolution flag and salute the Shah …

    God damn it, the entire beauty to this is that it has nothing to do with a Shah, a clergy or anyone else!

  2. Ann said, on March 16, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    hAPPY nOWRUZ dear Homey! Three days to go …

    I am sorry to hear you also caught a bad cold. I have just had one too — in warm weather — so maybe I caught it in solidarity!

    Wonderful words: “In a sane world, we would seriously consider to turn this ancient festival into a universal green event and start thinking in terms of beautifying the earth.”

  3. homeyra said, on March 16, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    Pedestrian, I have no idea what’s wrong with your greens. Is it something about the type of seeds? Frozen ones!? 🙂 Do others succeed with the same grains? You could try different ones, or grow them under supervision! 🙂
    The attitude of the diaspora could be an interesting study. In some way they are the mirror image of the generation who stayed. In Klein‘s word the society was repatterned, and immigration was such a new phenomenon. All had to go through a re-definition of everything, knowing not better than chacun pour soi. All that during the “market veneration” era … Maybe the new generation, yours, will be our Nowruz, a new day…

    Dear Ann, thanks for your kind wishes, Happy Nowruz to you too 🙂

  4. Ressentiment said, on March 16, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    Okay – I hate being naive. I reall do. But let’s say I do manage to grow one of these seed disks, or pick one up at the market. What do I do with it? Do you serve it by the slice or do you just stick your face in there and go for it?

  5. پيمان said, on March 17, 2008 at 4:13 am

    ْGreens need love to grow up!, some people believe that growing sequences for greens are a person related approach…

  6. homeyra said, on March 17, 2008 at 5:52 am

    Lol Serv:) First Pedestrian “refuses to buy greens”.
    I guess the idea is to grow it yourself, and to repeat step by step a simple – old as time – act.
    Of course now you can buy it all, you may find online haft sin kits … etc. (Nice picture btw)
    And no, you don’t serve it 🙂 We just take care of it and wait for the Sizdah bedar.
    Peyman, I had never heard of this but I guess it is as with plants. We have all the spectrum of personal approaches.

  7. Sophia said, on March 18, 2008 at 6:18 pm


    Quand j’étais petite au Liban nous faisions pousser des lentilles exactement comme celles-là pour la crèche de la nativité…

  8. homeyra said, on March 19, 2008 at 5:10 am

    Vraiment? Pas très étonnant quand j’y pense. C’était au temps quand on avait le temps.

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