(Persia Digest) – Apart from the traditional “Haft Sin” [Seven Ss] spread laid for Nowruz New Year on the spring equinox across Iran, a “Haft Mim” [Seven Ms] spread is also laid out in the provincial capital of Fars Province, Shiraz, in central Iran. These all start with M in Persian, and include chicken, fish, shrimp, masghati sweet, yoghurt, and raisins. Rhubarb yoghurt, honey, dates, butter, cheese, lettuce, and dyed eggs are also part of the spread.
When the year changes, all family members must be sitting at the spread, wearing their new clothes. Rue is also burned and all of these have their own special meaning.
As with the people of Khorasan Province in northeastern Iran, the people of Shiraz also place an egg on a mirror and believe that this will turn as soon the year changes when the earth has completed a rotation around the sun.
A special meal is cooked here with kohlrabi, meat, and rice. This is slightly different from the other parts of Iran in that it also includes herbs.
The aromas of a variety of other dishes emanate from homes in Shiraz, including soups made with herbs and special sweets welcomed by holidaymakers in the city.
The last day of the Nowruz holidays is celebrated on the 13th day by going out on a picnic called “Sizdah be dar” across Iran. People believe that they must not spend the 13th day inside as this can bring bad luck.
In Shiraz, as in the rest of Iran, people leave their homes for a day-long picnic beginning at day break and continuing late into the night. The afternoon is spent by young girls tying knots in the grass as this is meant to bring good fortune in finding a husband and is accompanied by singing.