A small peek at Norooz in Tehran | Greetings from Iran!

Hi everyone! Happy spring and Norooz Pirooz!

This cute and disarmingly gregarious boy is Elliah. (I met and got to talk to him at a hustling bustling market pulsing to the beat of frenzied shopping for sabzeh, goldfish, fruits and flowers and such accoutrements of greeting the Persian New Year – just hours before spring and Norooz were to sprung.) He is 10 years old and he was shopping for a goldfish and in the course of our convo he informed me that he has his own radio show! Too bad he wasn’t carrying his business cards or else I would have tracked him down for an extended interview! Elliah is holding a colored egg – one of the traditional items placed in the Iranian New Year’s Haft Seen spread.

Just in case you still don’t know what a haft seen (the Iranian New Year’s “tableau vivant” as I like to call it) is exactly, here are some real life honest to goodness examples of it.


My friend’s haft seen at home

My friend’s haftseen at her office

And finally, a pretty haft seen at one of the houses we went for did va bazdid (the tradition of paying a visit to friends and family during Norooz) with my uncle and his wife.

I wish I could post and write a lot more but I have to rush off to get ready for the ardous task of going over for a festive and certain to be delicious lunch at a relative’s. Don’t you feel tremendously sorry for me? Ha ha. I have been merrily eating my way in Tehran and I promise a post entirely devoted to at least some of the many amazing things I’ve had to eat so far. Soon! But until then let’s end with this shot of some Persian cookies traditionally served at Norooz that were handmade by my friend’s friend.

Aren’t they something? Clockwise from left: nooneh nokhodchi, shirini bernji and the one at the bottom is a cookie with topped with handmade jam.

And on that teasing note, untll soon!

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Comments (29)

  • Happy Norooz!! These sneak peeks are amazing!!! Make sure you eat some zulebiya (am I saying that right?), the sugary sweet but super amazing churros!!! I once almost ate a boxful and didn’t really regret it!

  • rabirius 8 years ago Reply

    Happy Norooz! I hope you’re enjoying your journey!

  • Keith 8 years ago Reply

    As always a great and fascinating post!

  • ladyredspecs 8 years ago Reply

    Happy Narooz Azita . Look forward to the food post!

  • The Healthy Epicurean 8 years ago Reply

    I’m so envious of all the wonderful food you’re going to get to savour! Enjoy your trip 🙂

  • Mandana Ghashghai 8 years ago Reply

    Eidet mobarak Azi joon. Eydi ham gerefti? Does it still feel the same?

  • apuginthekitchen 8 years ago Reply

    No sympathy from me, I so envy your food adventures. Can’t wait for more!!

  • Banafsheh 8 years ago Reply

    Azita jan , I sent you a picture ofmy haftsin!
    Take and write more ! Ghorbanet

  • polianthus 8 years ago Reply

    beautiful cookies, I made the nooneh nokhodchi once, they were hard hard work, because the chick pea flour just doesnt really stick together well and you have to keep on kneading, but they do look pretty and tidy and neat when they are finished. I glad you are having an amazing time, seems it’s all you thought it would be, no sympathy from me either for all that forced eating, cannot wait to see more! Enjoy the lawash the kabob soltani and the herbs for me, I wish I could get the seeds for some of the herbs over there, never found them in San Fran and it is illegal to export from Tehran so I’ve now forgotten the taste memory almost, but still remember that I loved it. Type of basil with maybe an aniseed flavour, small basil like leaves, sharp peppery taste unlike any herb we get here. Enjoy my dear, enjoy!

  • The Novice Gardener 8 years ago Reply

    So good to hear from you and that you’re having a great time. Those cookies are such a tease. So perfectly formed and lined. Handmade, you say?

  • Fae's Twist & Tango 8 years ago Reply

    So~ nostalgic, yadash bekheir… and you are experiencing first hand. I will try to check in if feasible, otherwise, see you in about 6 weeks! (For a few days, I will be closer to you, but on the other side of the Gulf.) 🙂

  • Elaine @ foodbod 8 years ago Reply

    What a wonderful spread, so many beautiful sweets and pastries 🙂

  • tableofcolors 8 years ago Reply

    So good to hear from you and so glad you are having a good time…you deserve it! Waiting to read more about your travels when you have a chance! 🙂

  • Tina 8 years ago Reply

    You are eating and enjoying for us all. Now, do an excellent job!

  • Aneela Mirchandani 8 years ago Reply

    Can’t wait for your recipes!

  • chef mimi 8 years ago Reply


  • Vicky Taheri 8 years ago Reply

    Wonderful pictures! What a nice variety of haft seen tables. I especially like the one with the forsythia branches; it screams spring! Happy Noruz, Azita Joon. Have a delightful trip.

  • mycookinglifebypatty 8 years ago Reply

    Eid-eh Shoma Mobarak my blogging buddy!

  • Francesca 7 years ago Reply

    I’m devastated! 😉 It looks like you are having a lot of fun! I’m so happy for you! Gorgeous pics. Enjoy, my friend!

  • afracooking 7 years ago Reply

    Thank you so so much for sharing. For you so well know – for me so new! The baked goods I know, but not the celebratory tables – what a beautiful discovery! Thank you!

  • Coco in the Kitchen 7 years ago Reply

    What a wonderful time to be in Tehran. All the tables are so festive!

  • Amanda 7 years ago Reply

    Wonderful post! Nice to hear from you! Glad you’re having such a lovely time and a culinary adventure as well. I miss you, but your guest posts have just been amazing!

  • Josiane 7 years ago Reply

    Elliah sounds like a very interesting little boy. How fun it would have been to read that extended interview you would have liked to do with him! Who knows, maybe you’ll run into him again at the market… If you do, make sure to get his contact info so that you can get in touch with him for that interview! I’d be very curious to learn more about his radio show. 🙂
    I love all of those haft seen tables, too! So many beautiful variations on a theme…

  • Flora 7 years ago Reply

    Looks like the happy times have begun.Have yourself a wonderful holiday 🙂

  • ediblethings 7 years ago Reply

    Happy Norooz, it looks like you are having a wonderful time. I’ve been with you in spirit for many of the traditions – I’ve had a really good spring clean, I’ve had a celebration with all my friends (albeit for my birthday) with lots of home cooked food, and I even have some hyacinths on my dining room table now. I haven’t yet managed the new outfit, although that is on the way, as I’m going to a wedding soon, nor the fish or eggs (unless Cadbury’s Creme eggs count?) but I’m getting there 🙂
    Hope you continue to have a wonderful time, and I look forward to reading about the foods soon

  • Maria Dernikos 7 years ago Reply

    Happy Narooz Azita, it all looks wonderful. Putting the pictures up of the different “tableau vivant” really is interesting and helps to paint a true picture of life in Iran.

  • Loving these posts, Azita! 🙂

  • Lisa 7 years ago Reply

    Those cookies look delicious!

  • […] written a few posts about the pretty customs of Norooz already anyhow (the meaning of haftseen, Norooz in Tehran, the sweets of Norooz, coloring eggs, sprouting sabzeh, Norooz ‘a […]

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