What a great evening of music, dance and food! And such a great restaurant for the celebration – Kabob House, located at Maple Grove and Emerald in Boise. So what is “Nowruz”? To quote from a flyer they gave everyone, “Nowruz means “New Day” in the Persian language (Farsi), and is widely referred to as the Persian New Year. It also corresponds to the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in the Persian calendar … Nowruz is celebrated on the day of the astronomical Northward Equinox, which usually occurs on March 21 or the the previous following day, depending on where it is observed”. “…Originally being a Zoroastrian festival, and the holiest of them all, Nowruz is believed to have been invented by Zoroaster himself, although there is no clear date of origin. Since the Achaemenid era the official year has begun with the New Day when the Sun leaves the zodiac of Pisces and enters the zodiacal sign of Aries, signifying the Spring Equinox. Nowruz is also a holy day for Sufis, Bektashis,Ismailis, Alawites, Alevis, Babis and adherents of the Bahá’í Faith.” [Wikipedia] Interesting. Did you know that in 1752 England and it’s Colonies (the American Colonies) changed the new year from March 25 – the English calendar – to January 1 – the “New Style” calendar? (Connecticut State Library) The March 25 date also corresponded to the spring and the appearance of new plants. Left-Click any of these photos to see a large view. Here are some photos of the celebration. Cheers!
Yes, there were dancers! And there are rules as to where to place the dollar bill. The Dancer explained to me that there is no “set routine” to many of the dances, but rather the music “tells” them what movements to make. The dancer interprets the music. Much like a Latin Rhumba, for example, where the dancer interprets the music.
“Nowruz celebrations last for many days, during which people visit with relatives and friends. Gifts are exchanged and parties are hosted. There is even a special display [pictured here] known as “Haft Seen” (the Seven ‘S’s) with items beginning with the Persian letter for “s” that have special symbolic value…The tradition of placing seven items in a display dedicated to the New Year (typically March 21) has its origins in the pre-Islamic Zoroastrian faith of the Persian civilization, and each item represented seven of the Zoroastrian divinities. The coming of Islam resulted in the adaptation and replacement of many Zoroastrian customs, and the haft sin table setting evolved to include the following:
sabzeh: wheat, barley, or lentil sprouts growing in a dish – symbolizing rebirth.
samanu: a sweet pudding made from wheat germ – symbolizing affluence.
senjed: the dried fruit of the oleaster tree – symbolizing love.
sīr: garlic – symbolizing medicine.
sīb: apples – symbolizing beauty and health.
somaq: sumac berries – symbolizing (the color of) sunrise.
serkeh: vinegar – symbolizing age and patience.
In addition to the above, however, you will also find a number of other haft sin items that harken back to Nowruz’s Zoroastrian origins. These items may include a mirror (symbolizing sky), candles (symbolizing fire), rose water (symbolizing water), goldfish (symbolizing the beginning of a new year), and painted eggs (symbolizing fertility) — a rather interesting coincidence for those who celebrate Easter.” (Kabob House)
One section of the restaurant is decorated in traditional fashion.
Traditional Nowruz fruit drink. Walnuts, pistachios, raisins, apricot, immature date and almonds to name a few.
Wonderful Green Salad
Sabzi Chalow: Sauteed Fresh Spinach with Basmati Rice.
Chai with Hael – Persian tea with Cardamom
Chicken Kabob: Tender chunks of chicken breast, marinated in special herbs, spices and broiled over the grill.
Tekka Kabob: Lamb (or beef) pieces marinated in special herbs and spices and broiled over the grill.
Rib Kabob: Lamb chops marinated in herbs and spices and broiled over the grill.
The two green “dips” as pictured here and above, have a spicy component but go extremely well with the entree. The onions are slightly pickled.
Baklava: Now who can pass this up? Not me.
Robin had a Shir-Berenj, a Persian rice pudding made with rose water.
So there you have our celebratory New Year Nowruz dinner party. Fun and delicious. Great to see Soraya, Michael Moss and his wife and Barbara and Patrick Myhre. The food was super and the price was nominal. You see everything that we had, except for the chicken kabob which was Patrick’s, and we paid about $20.00 per person. I think that was a very good price. We will return to Kabob House. And from their FaceBook page, “Enjoy cuisine representing the culinary cultures surrounding the legendary Khyber Pass, with an extensive menu of Persian, Afghan, Indian, and Central Asian dishes. Buffet daily from 11am – 2pm. Dinner from 3:00 – 9:00pm.” They are located at 9140 W Emerald St Boise, ID 83704. (208) 995-0915 Cheers!