Afghan New Year

Hello! It has been so long since I have written a blog post and I almost forgot how to begin. A month ago, I finished taking my last few finals. I was so thrilled to have finished the semester but did not feel the weight off my shoulders entirely because I needed to know my grades! After I found out my grades, it still took a few days for me to realize..I’m free?… It just had not hit me yet, I guess. But now…I’m BAAAACKKK!!!

And I want to make a fresh start…literally. With the start of a new season (no not Summer…yet!), especially Spring, one often imagines telling themselves, “new season, new me, spring cleaning, the flowers are in full bloom and I too shall bloom and blossom into something new and wonderful.” Well, new season, new wardrobe, new…year? Yup! The first day of Spring, March 20th not only marked the start of a beautiful new season but also a healthy and prosperous New Year for Afghans. My mother would always tell me how the start of the New Year in Afghanistan was often symbolized by the blooming of the arghawan tree.

Arghawan Tree

Similarly to how there is a Chinese New Year, an Afghan New Year also exists. Not to mention, there are several other countries who celebrate the New Year such as Iran, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and some other Central Asian countries. Note: not all Persians/Iranians, Turkish people, etc. celebrate the New Year, only because it is mostly a Muslim thing and not all Iranians are Muslims, Judaism also exists. Similarly in Turkey, there are Christians who don’t celebrate or recognize the start of Spring as the New Year–only the Muslims in Turkey.

Traditions:

The evening before the first day of Spring, we prepare the haft mewa –which literally translates to seven fruits. We take dry fruits such as green and red raisins, almonds, pistachio, walnuts, dried apricots, and Russian olives (the fruit/nut from the oleaster tree) and we soak it in a bowl filled with filtered water and leave it in the refrigerator.

The next day which is the first day of Spring, as you awake to the birds chirping and the morning dew or shabnam on the grass, the first thing you have is some haft mewa to start off the New Year on a fresh and sweet note.

Haft Mewa

My mother always says during Naw Roz to have some haft mewa to energize your brain and soul. Come to think of it…she spoke the truth. I like to think of the fruits symbolizing special meanings. For instance, the almonds and walnuts sharpens one’s mind making it fresh and energized for the New Year; the raisins provide antioxidants thereby providing strength and immunity, start the New Year off with a smile–let the sweet taste of dried apricots remind you about the sweet times in life, and the pistachios are like sparkling gems sprinkled in to foreshadow prosperity for the upcoming New Year.

haft mewa

Peace & Love,

~Bena…

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