It is time to review the popular Persian desserts for Nowruz, the Iranian New Year. Iranians have been known for their traditions, cultures, and how they take each celebration seriously. The Persian New Year is celebrated on the 20 and 21 of March in 2023, the day of the spring Equinox. And you can’t have any festivities without the traditional desserts made for a sweet start to both the spring and to the new year itself.
If you want to learn more about these luscious desserts and where to find them, keep reading!
Nowruz, the Iranian New Year
Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, is a time to embrace a fresh start and celebrate the coming of spring. Dating back to ancient Zoroastrianism, this holiday is widely celebrated by Iranians and non-Iranians alike across countries like Afghanistan, Albania, India, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan.
Traditions and Customs of The Persian New Year
Nowruz literary means “a New Day”, therefore a new start. There are several popular customs and traditions in Persian culture like jumping over fire on the last Tuesday before Nowruz as a farewell to winter.
Haft-Seen is the quintessential tradition –seen is the letter ‘S’ and haft is the number seven. During Nowruz, Iranians set up a dedicated table filled with iconic items, including the most important seven items that start with the letter ‘S’. You can also find other special items like goldfish, holy books, decorated eggs, and mirrors on the table as well.
Here are the seven items:
- Wheat or lentil sprouts- Sabzeh: represents rebirth and fertility
- Silver berry or wild olive- Senjed: symbol of love
- Garlic- Seer : for good health and to repel the evil
- Vinegar- Serkeh: symbol of longevity and patience
- Sumac- Somagh: represents the color of dawn
- Wheat pudding- Samanu: represents preparedness for a new year
- Apple- Seeb: a symbol of natural beauty and health
Did you know that Nowruz means a New Day?
Popular Persian Desserts for Nowruz
The Persian New Year is not complete without savoring the delectable and unique flavors of Iranian desserts. From the sweet taste of rosewater and pistachios to the aromatic flavor of saffron, here are some of the top picks to add to your dessert list during Nowruz:
- Baklava or Baghlava Yazdi: A must-have dessert for Nowruz, this delicious treat is made from a soft dough mixed with ground almonds or pistachios. Rolled out, cut into diamond shapes, and soaked in rosewater syrup, the baklava is flavored with sugar and cardamom
- Raisin Cookies or Nan-e Keshmeshi: The traditional Iranian raisin cookies is another sweet treat for the New Year. Made with dark and dried raisins and flavored with saffron, these cookies are chewy with a crispy edge
- Persian Walnut Cookies or Nan-e Gerdui: Satisfy your sweet tooth with these walnut cookies. Nicely flavored with rosewater syrup and cardamom and topped with pistachio silvers, these cookies pair nicely with spiced black tea
- Rice Cookies or Nan-e Berenji: Another must-try Persian cookie during Nowruz, these rice cookies will instantly melt in your mouth. Light and not too sweet, these cookies are best enjoyed with a touch of rosewater syrup and cardamom. Get an amazing recipe for the Eggless Persian Rice Flour Cookies from Mycookingjourney.com blog here
- Chickpea Cookies or Nan-e Nokhodchi: These vegan-friendly cookies are thick, flavorful, and filled with the distinct taste of the country. Gluten- and dairy-free, these cookies are scented with rosewater and pistachio
- Cotton Candy or Pashmak: For a heavenly dessert, try Pashmak, a light and delicate treat that resembles cotton candy. Available in a variety of flavors such as sesame, rosewater, vanilla, orange blossom, saffron, and pistachio, Pashmak is the perfect sweet treat for the New Year
- Saffron Rice Pudding or Sholeh Zard: The saffron rice pudding, also known as Sholeh Zard, is a delightful treat that you should try. This dish boasts an abundance of irresistible flavors and aromas that are sure to leave you wanting more. The rice is cooked in a mixture of water, saffron, and sugar, and for added visual appeal, slivered nuts, cinnamon, and dried roses can be sprinkled on top. Savor the deliciousness!
Where to find the Delectable Persian Desserts for Nowruz
The list provides some ideas and information on how to find Iranian desserts for Nowruz in the USA. It is not by any means a complete list of retailers. Here are my suggestions:
- Local Iranian markets: If you have a local Iranian market or grocery store, they may carry Iranian desserts such as baklava and halva. You can check online or in your local community to find an Iranian market near you
- Local bakeries: Some bakeries may carry Iranian desserts or be able to make them upon request. Or you may be able to find Iranian bakeries or pastry shops in your area
- Iranian restaurants: Some Iranian restaurants may offer desserts on their menu, or may be able to prepare desserts for you to take home
Below is a list of online retails that sell specialty Iranian desserts and foods. Check them out!
–Zozobaking.com specializing in Iranian pastries made in small batches with quality ingredients. Currently taking orders for Nowruz so visit the site asap!
-Amazon.com: the online retailer offers a variety of Iranian and other desserts, but the choice is overwhelming. So, allow yourself sometime to get your favorite choices. You will find assorted baklava, Persian teas, and golden saffron! Click here
–Tavazo.us is another online retailer that offers a variety of Iranian sweets for Nowruz. Click the link here and decide on your heavenly sweetened double pistachio baklava or walnut cookies; there are also some savory treats for you to choose from
–Sadaf.com is an online retailer specializing in Persian foods. Check their shop here to find out what your favorite sweets might be
The Persian New Year is a time to celebrate new beginnings and to enjoy the delicious flavors of traditional Iranian desserts. Whether you are an Iranian or just looking to try something new, these sweet treats are sure to satisfy your taste buds and provide a glimpse into the rich culture and traditions of Nowruz.
More desserts for the holidays? Check this Italian Ricotta Easter Pie for Easter here
This site contains affiliate links