By Olduz Dehghan
It doesn’t matter where we live: in Tehran, Tabriz, Shiraz, Kermanshah, Mashhad, Isfahan, Boushehr, Zabol, Yazd, Hamedan or Rash, we celebrate Nowruz. It doesn’t matter what religion we have: we are Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Zoroastrian or not religious at all, but we celebrate Nowruz. And it doesn’t matter what language we speak; Persian, Azerbaijani Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic or any other, we celebrate Nowruz . We celebrate Nowruz because Nowruz is about nature, about freshness, about family and about the happiness that spring brings to us every year.
Every year before Nowruz we start doing Khouneh Tekouni (deep cleaning our homes). We wash our rugs, clean the windows, get rid of the old things, etc. Khouneh Tekouni can take days of teamwork as a family. As my grandma used to say when we complained about Khouneh Tekouni: “Darling, we do it to be ready for Spring; otherwise it won’t come, if our homes are not clean.” And I believed it when I was a kid.
My favorite part was wandering around in my city and watching the excited people do their Nowruz shopping. When it comes to preparing for Nowruz everybody is super excited and people rush to put everything in order to welcome the spring and a new year. And it doesn’t matter whether you live in a big city or in a small village – the atmosphere is the same during the last days of the winter. It’s full of joy, happiness and excitement: you go to a market or shopping center, or the Bazaar of your hometown, to buy new clothing, new shoes, new socks, new scarves, and gifts for your loved ones. You buy pounds of special Nowruz cookies and sweets: Naan Nokhodchi, Naan Gerdoui, Naan Berenji, Qotab, Sohan Asali, etc.
My favorite was buying Ajil, mixed nuts: pistachios, hazelnuts, dried salted chickpeas, walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds. The smell of roasting nuts was the best smell in the world for an Ajil junkie like me. You could try each nut and then decide what to order – that was my favorite part. My parents always let me take care of this part and choose which pistachio was the best or which hazelnut had the right amount of salt, because in my family I know the language of Ajil better than anyone else. ….