Monday, April 4, 2011


On Sunday, I participated in an Iranian celebration called Seezdah-Bedar! 

This traditional painting of Seezdah Bedar is taken from the book Persian Miniature Paintings. 

Seezdah-Bedar is celebrated on the thirteenth day after Norouz, the Persian New Year. It marks the end of the New Year celebration. Seezdah means thirteen and bedar means to pass over. Seezdah-Bedar is therefore the passing over the thirteenth day of the new year, as many consider thirteen to be an unlucky number.  On this day families leave their houses and head for parks, gardens, or country sides and enjoy their day together with a picnic. By having a joyous and laughter filled day outdoors, Iranians believe that they can keep bad luck away!

On Sunday morning, as with millions of other Iranians, every member of my family got up early to prepare for Seezdeh-Bedar at the park. We packed our car with all the necessary supplies, such as blankets, traditional foods, fruits, pastries, backgammon, and the Sabzeh (sprouted wheat or lentils) which had adorned the Haft Seen for thirteen days.  The Sabzeh which by now had turned yellow symbolizes sickness and problems and is thrown into a flowing stream at the end of the picnic.

Once we got to the park I met up with my friends, we spent the day feeding ducks, playing on the playground, and riding our scooters. There were a lot of different booths selling different foods, such as ice-cream, Iranian food, and pastries. My friends and I stopped at a cotton-candy booth and we got some delicious blue cotton-candy! In the meantime, our parents and all other adults were enjoying themselves by socializing, playing backgammon or cards, eating, and dancing. The atmosphere was very festive!

My friends and I at the playground, you can see the crowds in the background.

Leila and I played on the playground with our friends.

We left the park at about 5:30 in the afternoon, but not before throwing away the yellowed Sabzeh. I had such a great time, and I am already looking forward to next year's Seezdeh-Bedar!

Me throwing the yellowed Sabzeh in the water.

Do you celebrate Seezdeh-Bedar?

Have you heard of Seezdeh-Bedar? 

What do you think of this tradition?

Do you have a celebration in your culture that is done outdoors such as in parks or at the countryside?