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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog begun in 2012 about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.

I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps.

Around 2018 I tried a new way of writing my family's and my own UK travel adventures. Britain is a brilliant place for a staycation, mini-break and day trips. It's also a fantastic place to explore so I've begun to write up reports of places that are easy to reach by public transport. And when they are not that easy to reach I'll offer some tips on how to get there.

See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

P-rose-bet (happy new year) in phonetic Kurdish

This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. Impossible? No. Here's how you can get a real taste of an Iranian (Turkish and Kurdish) new year. This post is by Nicola Baird (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about books and blogs).   Duck pic explained below.

One of my students at the University of Arts, London College of Communication wrote a post about the Iranian new year - which is on 20 March this year (2012). The actual link to her Lucky Number 7 post (with photos) is here and I've added the bulk of her post below - thank you Elica for being a guest blogger for me.

A bit about Kurdish new year
On the way to college today I stopped off at the cafe where I always talk ducks to the owners as I buy a cup of coffee before classes (hence the pic, my Muscovy ducks are what this couple call Turkish ducks). They both speak Kurdish and told me if I wanted to join the New Year party with dancing and fireworks then I was to go to London's Finsbury Park today (here's a video link from a previous year). They also explained that Turkey celebrates the new year for a week "a big problem for the government," Kurdistan celebrates with three days (a political celebration) and Iran five days "a seasonal celebration".

This sad news item from Aljazeera shows how easy it is for these celebrations to get out of hand.

By the end of my chat with the coffee bar owners I was slightly confused, so I hope that I've managed to get this info correct. Whether I have or not, may I wish you the opportunity for another happy new year, enjoyed peacefully. As I think they say in Kurdish (very phonetically) "P-rose-bet".

This is from Elica, who knows what she's talking about. Her blog is http://occasionalbrainbreakthrough.wordpress.com/ and offers an "occasional Iranian twist".
The first day of the Iranian Calendar ‘Norouz’ meaning new day is also the first day of Spring, usually on the 21st of March, but as this year is a leap year it’ll be on the 20th and at 5:14 am UK time exactly.
Once new year strikes the tradition is that you go round and visit all your friends and family starting with the elders, this is called ‘Eid-Didani’. In return the elders give the younger members of the family gifts. This all began in the 2nd century when the kings of different countries under the rule of the Persian empire would take gifts to the King of Kings ‘Shahanshah’, and it stuck.
An important part of ‘Norouz’ Is the ‘Haftsin’, the seven S’s, a spread/display that has a variety of things which are symbolic of the new year and life. Sort of like the Iranian equivalent of a Christmas tree.
The seven Ss:
1-Sabzeh: Wheat, Barley or Lentils are grown and sprouted in a dish, symbolising rebirth.
2-Samanu: A sweet sticky pudding made from wheat, symbolising affluence.
3-Senjed: The fruit of an Oleaster tree, symbolising love.
4-Serkeh: Vinegar, symbolising patience and age.
5-Somagh: Sumak (a reddish spice) symbolising sunrise.
6-Sib: An Apple, symbolising beauty and health, hence the saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
7-Sir: Garlic, symbolising medicine.

But these aren’t the only things that are part of the display. Other items such as candles, a mirror, goldfish, coins to name a few. All representing something yet again.
Sabzeh: symbolising plants.
Rose water: symbolising water.
Eggs: symbolising fertility, one for each member of the family.
Goldfish: symbolising life and animals.
Candles: symbolising fire and energy.
Coins: symbolising wealth."
Well, what are you waiting for? There's still time to hunt out some of the items listed above so that you can  make your own Iranian new year table display.

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