Happy Sizdah Bedar!

As I explained in my post on Nowruz, the Persians/Iranians celebrate their New Year (held on March 20, the first day of Spring) for a full dozen days. On the 13th day, they conclude with a holiday called Sizdah Bedar. Also known as Nature’s Day, Sizdah Bedar literally means Thirteen Outdoor. It is supposed to be unlucky to stay inside all day, so Iranians pack up elaborate picnics and head outside to eat.

There is another tradition around this day. As part of their Nowruz display (also explained in my earlier post), people grow sprouts, which represent rebirth and growth, from wheat, lentils, or beans. It is believed that the sprouts absorb all negative energy in the house and its inhabitants. On Sizdah Bedar, celebrants toss the sprouts into moving water and allow the rivers to swept away the bad energy. This allows the inhabitants of the house to start the new year cleansed energetically.

WELL, we’ve been having some bad energy in our house lately, so we were totally up for an energetic cleansing. I grew lentil sprouts for the first time for our Nowruz celebration, and it was really easy and they grow very quickly. However, I noticed after about a week after Nowruz the sprouts weren’t looking that great anymore and was producing an unpleasant milky liquid that didn’t smell that great. So we were definitely ready to let them go.

It is cold (40s) but sunny today here in North Carolina. We have a lot going on today, so I didn’t have time to make an elaborate Persian-style feast. One dish that is popular for this holiday is a middle eastern-inspired chicken salad. Since it is also Good Friday today, I switched to a sustainably-fished tuna salad instead. I just made it as a sandwich on fresh-baked (by a local bakery, not by me) multi-grain bread, including fresh Farmers Market greens. I did put in celery, green onions, parsley, dill, and a little mint to make it more Persian-esque, and added a little sumac, a popular Iranian spice. It was a lovely lunch on a lovely, albeit cool, day at a park by our house.

Then came the great release as my son dumped the container of sprouts into a small running stream in the park. We watched the contents drift away from us in the water. It did feel uplifting. I think this is a tradition I’m going to continue in future years.

Good bye sprouts! Good bye lentils! We appreciate your service, and are glad to return you to the Earth.

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