Iran Part Five – Meaning of Nowruz and Coloring Page

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Salam (hello) friends! سلام دوستان

Last year at this time, I was visiting the country of Iran (in the Middle East) and celebrating the beginning of Spring with my new friends Ali and Bahar. They shared a special and ancient tradition with me called Nowruz that has been celebrated by their culture for nearly 3,000 years! The "now" in the word Nowruz means "new" and the "ruz" means "day." So the celebration always occurs at the exact time of the vernal equinox (beginning of Spring) and welcomes the "new day," even if it falls at 2:00 AM! Nowruz usually lands on March 19-March 21st, depending on when the vernal equinox falls. This year, it falls on March 20th. 

Photo By Mandana Asadi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

While celebrating Nowruz in Iran with my new friends last year, I learned that it is a very important celebration for all families to share with one another in the Iranian culture. Everyone prepares for Nowruz almost a month in advance, doing their spring cleaning or what they call "shaking the house", getting rid of old items and habits to bring in the new, and setting up the sofreh haft-seen in their home. The sofreh haft-seen symbolizes all the important things they want to welcome in the new year. I even remember seeing a rainbow of Persian carpets hanging outside people's homes, so they could dust them off and start fresh for the new year. Check out the video below to learn more about Nowruz!


One of my favorite parts of Nowruz is the sofreh haft-seen. I loved learning what each item meant to my Persian friends and seeing all the different, creative, and colorful ways the sofreh haft-seen can be decorated.  Here are some pictures below so you can get a glimpse of what a sofreh haft-seen may look like and how beautiful they are. 

Images Above Courtesy of Eela Arvin

You can also check out my Nowruz blog from last year (Part Two) to learn more about what each item on the sofreh haft-seen symbolizes and read about my adventure with Ali, Bahar and their family!

This year, since sharing traditions from all around the world is one of my favorite things to do, I decided to create my own sofreh haft-seen and share Nowruz with my family here in West Sumatra! I wasn't able to get all the basics that usually goes on asofreh haft-seen. Lucky for me, there are items you can use as substitutes, like the coins (sekkeh) and the hyacinth flower (sombul). Another bonus to the table is a goldfish, which represents life! Iranians celebrate Nowruz all around the world, and so do many other cultures too, because it is the celebration of spring, and everyone on Earth experiences spring!

I've made a fun coloring page for you to decorate your own sofreh haft-seen and learn more about it. Just ask your parent, guardian or teacher to click on the coloring page above to download, print and start coloring your own sofreh haft-seen.

After visiting Iran and sharing my last coloring page, I learned how to count to ten in Farsi (the language they speak in Iran). So I numbered each item of the sofreh haft-seen in Farsi so you can practice counting in Farsi too! If you have forgotten, don't worry, it takes practice to learn another language. Click on the Part One tab to go back to my first adventure blog in Iran for more information, and to watch a short video to help you with pronunciation.

Hope you enjoy my new coloring page and what you learned about this amazing celebration! I'd love to see your sofreh haft-seen creations, so please ask your parent, guardian or teacher to email your coloring page to me and I'll post it on my website to share with the world. Also, ask them to help you comment below and share what item you would love to include on your sofreh haft-seen?

Oh, and if you know anyone that celebrates Persian New Year (Nowruz), please wish them a Happy New Year! 

See you on my next adventure friends! 

Joy Sun Bear

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