What a month of celebrations March is. We have D's birthday, followed by Persian / Iranian New year and then Mother's day.
Despite being born and raised in the UK, my mother was always keen on teaching us the traditions like Persian new year when I was growing up. I've tried to do the same for my children, but sadly year by year my attempts become more and more feeble and our 'haft-seen' display ends up looking rather sparse and embarrassing compared to the beautiful images I see elsewhere.
I no longer even attempt to grow wheatgrass or lentils for our sabzeh as I ended up with rather too many failed attempts over the years.
"Haft-seen" means Seven 'S's in Iranian and a far better explanation of it can be found on wikipedia than I could explain here. So the idea is to lay out a table displaying seven items beginning with the Iranian letter S.
So we usually manage to find a needle, a hyacinth, vinegar, an apple, garlic, sumac, small coins, which makes up our seven items. And we display ours on a tray (sinee) which gives us an additional S just in case.
This year my friend even gave me some Senjed which is described on wikipedia as dried iranian olives. In my opinion they bear no resemblance to olives and look more like dates but not anywhere near as sweet. Inside they are kind of dry and fluffy.
In addition the haft-seen table will often have a candle, a mirror, a goldfish in a bowl (ours are little toy goldfish), and painted eggs (we used wooden or plastic eggs as I can't bear food to be wasted by not being eaten afterwards).
So this year I wanted to have a go at doing something a bit different. I dug out my Biscuiteers recipe book which I trust for a great basic vanilla biscuit. The recipe can also be found online here.
Then I used a combination of home-made royal icing and some Dr. Oetker writing icing tubes to decorate.
Time wasn't on my side, so some of them are a bit rushed but I think the overall combination of the items worked.
So we had a mirror, 'painted' eggs, a hyacinth, a sabzeh, garlic, fish in a fish bowl, apple, vinegar, small coins, a needle and thread and a candle.
I couldn't quite figure out how to do things like 'sumac' or 'samanu' or 'senjed'. And I'm not convinced that every item looked close enough to know what it was - but it was fun to have a go at doing this as I couldn't find anything else like this out there - when googling 'persian new year' biscuits, it tends to bring up recipes for the traditional sweet biscuits and treats one may have at new year like noon nochodchi (chickpea flour biscuits) or noon berenji (rice-flour biscuits) rather than anything themed like this.
We did also set up our regular haft-seen which Miss T really enjoyed helping me with. And my kids also experienced the tradition of jumping over small fires called 'Char-shanbeh suri'. Despite it looking like a bit of a health & safety nightmare, the kids all loved doing this (and so did the grown-ups).