April 2, 2013 - Sizdeh Bedar – Persian Nature Day

Today is the thirteenth day of the Persian new year, which means it's Nature Day!

In Iran (formerly called Persia), schools are off today so that families can spend the day outdoors, eating picnics and playing games. It is the last day of the two-week-long New Year (Nowruz) celebration, and it is a fun and relaxing way to end the holiday period. 
It's supposed to be a good day to ask for rain and to make wishes for the future. Girls and boys tie a knot with grass and make wishes; when they unknot the grass again, it is supposed to “open up” their luck and make their wish come true. Another fun tradition that is a nod to old superstitions is throwing away the Sabzeh, the sprouts planted for the Nowruz table's centerpiece. The Sabzeh is tossed into a stream if possible; its disposal is supposed to get rid of bad luck and ensure only good luck in the coming year.
According to My Persian Kitchen, the sprouts are either wheat or lentils. 
By the way...
I struggled with looking up the name of the holiday, the name of the garden of sprouts, and the name of the New Year. Persian (also known as Farsi) is written in Persian script, which is based on Arabic script. People who transcribe words from one alphabet to another often use different spellings to express the sounds. For example, I ran into many spellings for the New Year such as Nowruz, Noruz, NowRooz, No-Rooz. Farsi Net has four different spellings on the same page: Nowrooz, NoRuz, Now Ruz, and NoRooz. Wikipedia lists 23 variants!
To celebrate the day...
Nothing could be easier, if you are lucky enough to have good weather today, to celebrate Nature Day the Persian way: Go outside, play outdoor games, and have a picnic!

Also on this date:

Birthday of children's author Hans Christian Andersen

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