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Persian New Year

Happy Spring! Happy Persian New Year!

The 20th of March is when the Northern Hemisphere celebrates the first day of spring, but for MZ Skin founder, Dr Maryam Zamani, it also represents Nowruz, the first day of the Persian New Year.

“I am Iranian and Persian New Year is our most festive holiday,” says Dr Zamani. “This year on the 20th of March, just before 10pm, at the precise moment when the sun is above the equator, we celebrate the new year, which in our calendar is 1398. It is a really fun holiday, a little bit like Christmas but with different rituals, and is a long-standing tradition in Iran that is more cultural than religious. Because it is tied into spring, it is all about renewal and regeneration, but basically it is a time for food and family and friends and all good things.”

One of the most important traditions of Nowruz is the sofreh haftseen: a special table laid with seven things beginning with the letter ‘s’. “Each piece of the haftseen we place is symbolic with a particular meaning and represents good for the coming year,” says Dr Zamani. “So for example, sabzeh, which is wheatgrass, is placed on the spread and it symbolises rebirth. You grow it from Persian New Year for 12 days and then on the 13th day, which is traditionally an unlucky number, you take the wheatgrass to a body of moving water and throw it into the water to symbolise the river taking any bad luck away. I love the ritual.” The other items on the haftseen include samanoo, or sweets, for wealth and sweetness in life; senjed, which is traditionally the dried fruit of the oleaster tree, which symbolises love: seer, which is garlic and symbolises medicine and good health; seeb, or apples, which symbolise beauty and good health also; serkeh, or vinegar, for age and patience; sekkeh, or coins, for prosperity and wealth; and sonbol, or hyacinths, which symbolise the start of spring, life, rebirth and renewal. Other items can include lit candles and a mirror to represent happiness and enlightenment; painted eggs for fertility; a bowl with goldfish to represent life, and the holy book to represent God’s blessing.

“There is so much symbolism around Nowruz, it is just a beautiful time of year,” says Dr Zamani. “You’re meant to do a big spring clean of your house to shed what has accumulated in the last year. I have just done the same for my bathroom as well. Any opened creams that have been sitting unused for more than six months were tossed. Any unopened or unused creams were donated. And old make-up was purged. It was quite satisfying!” she says. “Persian New Year is a really nice time to bring in rituals, so I make sure I also take time for myself and do a few nice at-home treatments.”

The changes in climate at the start of any new season can be tricky for skin, which is why for spring, Dr Zamani recommends updating your skincare routine. “To get your glow back after winter and to protect your skin ahead of the summer months, look for creams that increase hydration and brightness,” she says. Start with Cleanse & Clarify, leaving it on for 10 minutes to let the formula’s AHAs gently exfoliate the skin. Follow with Brighten & Perfect, which uses 10% Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid to boost collagen production, improve elasticity and firmness and deeply hydrate the skin. At night, pat on some Soothe & Smooth collagen-activating eye cream to restore moisture, reduce dark circles and smooth fine lines, then let Replenish & Restore do the hard work while you sleep to nourish, detoxify, hydrate and brighten skin.