Sizeh Bedar takes place on the 13th day of the Persian New Year and marks the end of the Norouz holiday. It is customary for Persians to celebrate such day by spending the day outdoors picnicking. Families will pack their lunch and head out to the park of their choice to spend the day enjoying the warmer temperatures of spring time while hanging out with family and friends. The time spent outdoors with friends is filled with joviality and happiness. Picnic items are set out, kabobs are grilled, music and dancing takes place, as well as various fun games are played by all.
Another customary thing to do is to take the Sabzeh from their Sofreh Haft Seen and throw it in a stream, a river, or anywhere where water flows. The action of throwing away the Sabzeh represents removing negativity from one’s home. It is believed that the Sabzeh that is placed on the Sofreh Haft Seen will collect all that is negative and ill in the household during its time of growth. Releasing it into a running stream or river, then symbolizes new beginnings, as all that is sickness and ill is removed from one’s home. I find this part of our culture very symbolic as in mythology water represents purity. So throwing what is evil in water that flows is a representation of evil being literally transported away by purity. All that is not pure and good then is simply carried away down stream and does not remain stationary.
Another tradition of Sizdeh Bedar is for young single girls to tie a knot with the sabzeh and make a wish to find a husband in the coming year just before throwing it out. Some also make a wish by simply tying a knot in regular grass.
I personally find it very fascinating that Sizdeh Bedar takes place on the thirteen day of the New Year. In most cultures the number 13 simply represents bad luck. Ironically, Sizdeh Bedar represents the removal of all that is negative and the cheerfulness that surrounds the day can definitely be a response to Iranians’ rejection and acceptance of bad luck. What is also fascinating is the fact that generally people will play practical jokes on each other on the same day which ironically the concept behind it is very similar to April Fool’s day. I find the closeness in time and similarity very interesting.
May you all have a lovely Sizdeh Bedar with family and friends!