Haft Mewa

Spring has began with a pale sun. In Kurdistan, Afghanistan and Iran the first day of spring coincides with the beginning of a new year. People celebrate the arrival of a new season, of a new cycle that carries the blossoms of new gems.

It is the beginning of new beginnings; it is the triumph of possibilities.

In Afghanistan, for Newroz – which literally means new day – people eat Haft Mewa, a ritual dessert dish made of seven fruits: pistachio, walnuts, raisins, dried apricots, almonds, prunes and senjid (the dried fruit of the oleaster tree). After washing and peeling the dried fruit, you leave it soak for at least two days with a little bit of rose water and a pinch of cardamon until the water turns into a sweet sirup. Haft Mewa is given to guests and eaten with family with auspicious omens of protection and good fortune. The seven fruits represent the seven elements of life: fire, earth, air, water, plants, animals and humans.

It is a wish of prosperity for ourselves and for those who walk this planet with us.

 At the eve of Newroz this year, there has been a new Taliban attack in Kabul. I am in Milan, but my heart is there, distraught by such brutality.

Even if late to the required times of tradition, I hope tonight I will manage to make haft mewa. It will be a way to remind myself to hold on to humanity and not to forget that being overwhelmed by violence is the same thing as deciding to give up.


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