For millions in Asia, including in the Caspian region, the Novruz holiday marks the start of spring, represented by səməni – a green, sprouting wheat that signifies nature's awakening after chilly winter days – and golden qoğal pastries, with their round shape like the sun. A new year makes for a fresh start – if not technically, than at least psychologically.
Forecasting what is to come in the next year – personal relationships, family finances, health, wealth and happiness – is a favorite pastime for people. Below are just a few traditions that have survived the ages whereby Novruz celebrants try to predict the future:
- Covering your ears with your hands and walking towards a randomly-selected house, uncovering them as you approach it and try to overhear the first few words of a conversation inside. The first two to three words you clearly understand are then interpreted and considered predictors about the year to come.
- Make a wish on the first day of Novruz, and stay awake until sunrise. If you can welcome the morning without having fallen asleep, your wish will come true within the next five years.
- If you are single and want to know the first letter of your future spouse’s name, just count seven stars in the night sky and try connecting them. The shape of the connected stars is correlated to the closest corresponding letter of the alphabet, and is said to be the first letter in the first name of your future bride or groom.
- Two empty glasses placed in front of you may determine your fate, with a 50-50 chance of your dreams coming true. After a friend puts them in front of you and you have chosen one in your mind, he or she is to pour water in one. If that’s the glass you picked, congratulations!
- Mothers should take a strand of hair from their child’s head, and throw it atop flowing water. After, a bowl filled with the flowing water is splashed gently on the child. According to folk beliefs, this will ward off evil spirits and protect the child from diseases throughout the year.