This was my first field-production recording assignment. I’ve always loved working with food writer Bonny Wolf, and getting to visit Najmieh Batmanglij’s beautiful Georgetown home was such a treat. (It wasn’t until I got there that I learned her son was Rostam Batmanglij of the band Vampire Weekend.) I recorded, produced and mixed this piece for NPR’s Weekend Edition.
“The ancients really knew how to celebrate a change of seasons. And the transition from winter to spring was cause for serious celebration.
Most cultures in the ancient Mediterranean region had big celebrations at the spring equinox. People of Persian descent have kept the party going for 3,000 years or so.
Nowruz, the Persian New Year, begins at the exact moment of the vernal equinox, when the sun crosses the equator and winter ends. The festivities continue for 13 days.
Nowruz is not a religious holiday. It celebrates fertility and renewal with singing and dancing, visiting friends and relatives, and lots of feasting. It’s got it all: myth and symbolism, fragrant hyacinth and Persian poetry, magic numbers and magic puddings.
Najmieh Batmanglij lives in Washington, D.C., but grew up in Iran. She has written several Persian cookbooks including her latest, Happy Nowruz: Cooking with Children to Celebrate the Persian New Year.”