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?


  1. Dear Hannah,

    I enjoyed seeing the posts about Seezdeh-Bedar, It turned out to be great. I do not celebrate Seezdeh-Bedar, but it sure looks fun to celebrate with all of those things people can do.

    The carnival sounds like a lot of fun!

    Your friend,

  2. Dear Hannah,

    Wow! I love your post about Seezdah Beder! You asked if I celebrate Seezdah Beder, I do not celebrate Seezdah Beder, but it sure looks like a lot of fun. I also have never herad of it .

    One thing that is very interesting is that it is outside. That is pretty amazing! In my culture, none of the activities are outside, but I wish they were. Some things that are inside that I do is temple. In temple, we pack dolls and books, and all of the things they need to live. Its really fun!

    I have some questions for you:

    Have you ever gone to temple and packed for people who are poor?

    Have you ever done activities indoors?

  3. Dear Hannah,

    What a terrific post about Seezdeh-Bedar! I have never heard of this tradition before, so I am so pleased you wrote about it!

    It is funny that it is the thirteenth day, because that is often thought of as an unlucky number, but not for you! You keep it away by celebrating! Love it!

    I'm curious, the Sbzeh from the Haft Seen looked dried out. Was that the lifespan of that plant?

    Your proud teacher,
    Mrs. Y♥llis

  4. Michael (Hannah's dad)April 5, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    My dearest Hannah Joon,

    Thank you for your wonderful post about Seezdah Bedar. I am so glad that you had a lot of fun celebrating at the park. I am sorry I couldn't be there this year but reading your post and looking at the pictures made me feel that I had been there with you!

    It is always nice to see that you and Leila enjoy celebrating our wonderful traditions. I am also very proud of the fact that you like to share our culture with others through your blog. Your mom has always tried to instill the importance of honoring and celebrating our traditions in you and Leila and I am happy to see that it has worked!

    Keep up the wonderful work!

    Much love,

  5. Minoo (Hannah's aunt)April 6, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    Dear Hannah joon,

    What a great post about Seezdah Bedar! A nice follow up to your post about Chaharshanbeh Suri. I also read your friend Adia's post about Norouz. It so nice to see you and your friend sharing our traditions with everyone.

    I am so glad to see that you had a wonderful time at the park. It sounds like it was a very festive event. I don't know if your mom has told you this, but when we were back in Iran, our family did not usually go to the park for Seezdah Bedar instead we spent it at our vacation house in the countryside. Every year we went there with a big group of our extended family and friends. We would usually spend the last few days of our 13 day Norouz holiday vacationing there. We would always have an amazing time. There would always be lots of food, outdoor outings, games, music, dancing and of course great company! I remember always being sad when we had to leave but just like you, looking forward to the following year's celebration!

    Thanks again for sharing our wonderful and fun tradition!

    Khaleh Minoo

  6. @ Ben,

    Thanks for your comment! Yes, Seezdah-Bedar is very fun especially for the children because you get to play with your friends all day!

    Your friend,

  7. @ Alexa,

    Thank you for your kind comment!

    It is a lot of fun to celebrate Seezdah-Bedar, but it does sound like you have a lot of fun on your holidays at the Temple also, and what is great about it is that it is for a worthy cause!

    I don't go to Temple, but many of our Iranian celebrations are indoors. One example of that is Norouz, our New Year.

    Your friend,

  8. Dear Hannah,

    I really enjoy your wonderful post about Seezdeh-Bedar.

    The one thing we do in Seezdah- Bedar is tie the sabzeh and throw it into the river. Also we have a picnic in a certain park.

    This post is very interesting because other cultures get to learn about the persian culture.

    I am so glad you did a post on Seezdeh-Bedar!


    ( Nicoles' mom)

  9. Dear Mrs. Yollis,

    Thank you for your compliments!

    I also think that thirteen is an unlucky number, and so do many others! I love that Iranians celebrate it even though it is thought to be an unlucky number. By celebrating on that day it really keeps the bad luck away! (Hey, that rhymes!)

    The Sabzeh was very dried out, and that is why Iranians throw it in the river.The dried out Sabzeh symbolizes sickness and bad luck. I am not very sure what the lifespan of the Sabzeh is, but I think that it is about three weeks.

    Your student,

  10. Dear Daddy,

    Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to leave a comment for me!

    I had lots of fun at Seezdah-Bedar, but I know that if you were there I would have had twice as much fun! I am glad that my post made you feel like you were there!

    I love to celebrate Iranian traditions, I think it's important to honor one's traditions. I am really happy and grateful that you and Mommy have tried to emphasize that.


  11. Dear Khaleh Minoo,

    As always, thank you for the quality comment!

    I had a great time at the park for Seezdeh-Bedar. It is very festive at the parks, and I wish you were there with me to celebrate!

    I had no idea that when you were children in Iran you almost never went to the parks to celebrate, but instead you went to your vacation home on the countryside! It sure sounds like a lot of fun!


  12. @ Nicole's mom (Leila),

    Thank you for leaving a comment!

    I do know about the tying of the Sabzeh! My mom told me that ladies who want to get married tie the Sabzeh and recite:

    Seezdah bedar
    Saleh deegar
    Khaneh shohar
    Bacheh beh baghal

    Which means next year at my husband's house with a baby in my arms!


  13. Isn't it interesting that two different cultures see thirteen or seezdah as an unlucky number. What about you? Do you think 13 is unlucky?

    Your post made me hungry! I remember eating cotton-candy when I was your age. We only had pink cotton-candy then. I have never seen blue cotton-candy. I must try it.

    You asked four questions.
    1. I have never celebrated Seezdeh-Bedar.
    2. I read Aida's post before I read yours. So my answer is Yes.
    3. It sounds like lots of fun and I certainly would like to attend a festive event such as that one.
    4. Well, what about July 4 celebrations? They are often outdoors so we can watch the fireworks!

    Thank you very much for your comment on my EDM310 Class Blog. Your blog helps my students (who want to be teachers) understand how important blogging and commenting on blogs can be.

    Dr. John Strange
    University of South Alabama

  14. Dear Hannah,

    My name is Lee Hughes and I am a student in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama.

    What a terrific post about Seezdah-Bedar! I have never heard of Seezdah-Bedar before but it seems like a lot of fun. I attend lots of celebrations that are outdoors, but nothing to keep the bad luck away. I think having a celebration to keep the bad luck away is great. Thank you for sharing this great tradition!

  15. Hannah,
    What a great post about Seezdeh-Bedar! I'm in Dr. Strange's college class at the University of South Alabama and I enjoyed reading your message on our class blog.
    I have never heard of this celebration before but it looks like you had so much fun! I was surprised to see your picture with the crowds in the background, it looks like the whole community came to celebrate! You did an excellent job describing the history behind the holiday and the traditions that your family follows. Keep up the good work!
    Happy Blogging,

  16. Dear Hannah,

    My name is Alexa Howie. I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I'm in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class.

    I really enjoyed reading your post about Seezdeh-Bedar! It was so interesting because I had never heard of it before. Thank you for introducing me to such a fun sounding tradition. Your pictures were great and really helped me imagine what you were talking about. I wish I could have had a fun day like yours!

    The only tradition/holiday I could think of that comes close to Seezdeh-Bedar is Easter. When I was growing up, we would go to Church in the morning and then have a special day outside. We would eat a picnic lunch and then have an easter egg hunt. We would spend the whole day out in the sun. My parents would relax and talk, while I would play with other children.

    Great job on your post! Keep it up!

    Alexa Howie

  17. Dear Hanna,

    I was quite impressed with your coverage of Seezdeh Bedar; this is the first time I've heard of it, but it sounds interesting. I think it is important to continue cultural traditions because it helps the community grow closer.

    In the Gulf Coast region where I'm from we don't really have scheduled cultural events such as Seezdeh-Bedar (beside for Independence Day), but we do have numerous widely accepted traditions in our region. These include family reunions, crawfish boils, bar-b-ques, fishing and hunting.

    Although, technically not holidays, they are celebrations for the most part. I like Seezdeh- Bedar from what I've learned of it, and it sounds like a fun way to spend a day.

    I am a student at the University of South Alabama in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class; that's where I learned about Mrs. Yollis and her students. One of my others classes is a Modern Islamic History class and Iran is a topic of conversation quite often, yet you were the first to teach me about Seezdah-Bedar.

    Congratulations on earning your blog. Hard work does pay off. I wish you success in your academic career, and have a great semester.

    Kevin White

  18. Hello, I am a student at The University of South Alabama. I loved hearing about Seezdah Beder. I celebrate Easter. Easter is this sunday and my son will go easter egg hunting this sunday. I love how your family celebrates this holiday outside. You can check out my blog if you would like.

  19. Dear Hannah,

    I've never heard of Seezdeh-Bedar. I do have a few friends from Iran, however. Based on your writing, I am now compelled to find out how they celebrate the holiday and join in on the fun!

    You're a wonderful writer. Keep up the excellent work!

    Very Respectfully,

  20. Hi Hannah,
    My name is Justin Hyde and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class. I thought your last blog post about Seezdeh-Bedar was very interesting. This is a tradition that I have never heard of and I have a question. Is this tradition only celebrated on the 13th day or for 13 days? Also you looked like you were having a great time with your friends at the park. Great post thank you.

  21. Hello Hannah,
    My name is Tracy Hunt, I am a student at the University of South Alabama in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class. I loved your blog post about Seezdah-Bedar, it was really interesting. I have actually never heard of it before, but upon learning about it from what you wrote on it, it sounds very fun and exciting. You looked as if you enjoyed yourself quite a bit from the pictures taken. You are welcome to visit my blog as well anytime you wish. Keep up the great work!
    Tracy Hunt

  22. Dear Mr. Strange,

    It's so nice of you to comment on my blog. So many of your students have left comments on different posts on my blog. I am really enjoying reading their comments and commenting back to them.

    I also think it is very interesting that two very different cultures see thirteen as an unlucky number. Personally, I kind of feel that thirteen is unlucky also!

    You are right about fourth of July, it is celebrated outdoors with barbecues and fireworks. Also, those who celebrate Easter, do Easter egg hunting outdoors as I did today in my neighbor's yard.

    I will visit your class blog soon.


  23. @ Lee,

    Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving me a comment.

    Seezdah-Bedar is a lot of fun, in fact I think any celebration that is done outdoors is great! Today I had a lot of fun celebrating Easter with an Easter egg hunt in my neighbor's yard. I enjoyed the outdoors, and the fresh air.

    I will visit your blog soon.


  24. Dear Erin,

    Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for leaving a wonderful comment. Also, thank you for featuring my post on your blog.

    You are right about the whole community coming out to celebrate Seezdah-Bedar, there were thousands of people at the park that we went to.

    I am so happy that I could share my tradition with those who are not familiar with it. I am glad that you thought that I did a good job describing the history behind our tradition.

    I really like you blog background, I almost chose it for mine! I also like your avatar, your dog is very cute!


  25. Hannah,

    My name is Chelsea and I'm a student in Dr. Strange's EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama.

    I enjoyed this post. I grew up learning about different cultures because my mom always found them interesting. However, I've never hear much about the Iranian culture, let alone this celebration. I think the celebration is neat and sounds like a lot of fun.

  26. Hi Hannah,

    My name is Abby Jordan and I am also a student in Dr. Strange's EDM310 class. I have enjoyed commenting on childrens blogs this semester for various reasons.

    1. It's fun to see what children think about and how they express themselves.
    2. It is great to know how technology-driven students are at various ages.
    3. I usually learn something new.

    I was glad that you did a post about Seezdah Beder because it was something very new to me. I also love that the background of your blog is jelly beans, so colorful and just the right season. Keep up the good work and continue to blog about it because you never know what you are teaching someone else! :)

    You asked everyone 4 questions on your blog, here are my answers.
    1. No, I do not celebrate Seezdeh-Bedar.
    2. No, I have never heard of Seezdeh-Bedar.
    3. I think it sounds like a fun-filled family day!
    4. The only traditions I can think of is alot of times for Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Independance Day people in the United States visit various parks and beaches to celebrate with family and friends.

  27. Hi Hannah. My name is Dana Johnson, an EDM 310 student at the University of South Alabama. I have never heard of Seezdeh-Bedar, but i think it is a great tradition you all have going!

  28. Hannah,
    We really enjoyed reading about your traditions. We have a tradition in the United States that is celebrated outside. It is our Independence Day, July 4th. We have picnics and do fireworks. It is really fun. Come visit our blog at

  29. Hi, my name is Samera Johnson and I am an EDM 310 student at the University of South Alabama. As a class assignment I am required to comment on your post. I see this is a very important and fun Holiday. I really enjoyed your post because I learned something new. Your blog looks great and keep up the great work. Good luck in the future!!


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