Persian culture, Persian New Year

Egg Decorating (not just for Easter)

Some weeks ahead of Easter we got together as a family and decorated eggs. Why?

Because egg decorating is part of Persian Norooz tradition, as well.

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To usher in the Iranian New Year (21 March), families place seven decorative items with special significance on a sofreh,  table spread. Each item begins with the letter “S”, and this is known as the haft sin,  or Table of the Seven S’s.

There are also a number of other items placed on the haft sin table — like decorated eggs — which don’t necessarily start with the letter “s” but are still an important inclusion in this 3000-year old tradition.

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Nowruz essentially translates to “new day”, and the special items are all connected to this overarching theme. The eggs, for example, symbolise fertility.

Of course, in Australia egg decorating is hugely popular. As is the easter egg hunt and eating chocolate eggs (and don’t forget the freshly baked hot cross buns!).

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So, I guess that’s one of the greatest things about growing up as an Iranian in Australia. We get to  celebrate both cultures. We are exposed to two different, yet strangely similar traditions and have the opportunity to appreciate both.

While Norooz has its origins in Zoroastrian traditions, and Easter is of course a deeply religious time, for us these two traditions are about bringing our family together and appreciating what is around us.

Every so often, Easter falls earlier in the year and aligns with Norooz. Or, as is the case this year, Good Friday also coincides with the last day of the Norooz celebration, known as sizdah bedar.

It is especially in these moments that we appreciate what both cultures are about and how they harmonise each other.

Happy Easter everyone! And a happy close to another great Persian New Year!

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