The Iranian


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Sehaty Foreign Exchange

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Signs that spring is here

By Katie Thomas and Victor Chen.
Newsday, New York
March 21, 1999

Here are the conventional signs of spring: red-breasted robins, daffodil shoots, fresh-cut grass and white patent leather shoes.

But for many Long Islanders, the new season is marked by different harbingers. For the Iranian community, the vernal equinox - at 8:46 p.m. yesterday - commenced the Iranian New Year, Now-Ruz. For charter boat captains, yesterday's opening of the flounder season marked the seasons' change. And animal shelter workers know warmer days are afoot when they are inundated with kittens and puppies, which proliferate around this time.

At the Hanson home in Rockville Centre, spring was captured in the sweet smell of hyacinths. The family typically decorates the house with the fragrant flowers to mark the coming of the Iranian New Year, 1378. The holiday goes back to the time of the Persian Empire more than 2,000 years ago and is still celebrated in the empire's former lands, including Iran.

"It brings back many memories," said Sherry Hanson, 43, a nutritionist who was born in Iran and came with her mother to the United States in 1973. "My mother always made sure, when we came to the country, to celebrate Now-Ruz so that we had that."

Her mother, Mahin Stutman, prepared the traditional foods and decorations for the night's celebration - among the cornucopia, rice cookies made with rosewater, called nanberenji, and a medley of nuts known as agilmoshelgosha. A table in the corner bears potted hyacinths as well as a gold-gilded tray with the customary seven Now-Ruz good-luck charms, including apples, garlic, sprouts and candy that in the Farsi language begin with the letter "s."

The whole family - including her mother, husband, Kurt, and two daughters Tanya, 13, and Alexandra, 9 - were throwing a party at their home to ring in the New Year, in observation of their Iranian heritage and their Baha'i faith, which also recognizes the holiday. "I never in my life missed one Now-Ruz, and I want my children and grandchildren to celebrate this beautiful holiday," Stutman said, adding that last night she and many friends - Iranians and non-Iranians - will start the new year with embraces and the exchanging of gifts.


Copyright © 1997 Abadan Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved. May not be duplicated or distributed in any form

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