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Nowruz: Out with the Old in with the New (lesson)

Haft-Seen by Flickr user Hamed Saber

Haft-Seen by Flickr user Hamed Saber.

Bowl with landscape

Bowl with landscape, approx. 1600–1700. Iran. Glazed fritware with luster decoration. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B60P1985.

Haft-Seen by Flickr user Hamed Saber
Bowl with landscape

Students will create a "Fresh Start" journal in which they will observe and record the progress on their sabze plant each day. They will then record their progress towards achieving their new year’s resolution.

20 minutes per day over two weeks

Standards (California Department of Education):
History/Social Science: 4.9. Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures: 1.) Recognize the ways in which they [students] are all part of the same community, sharing principles, goals, and tradi­tions despite their varied ancestry; the forms of diversity in their school and community; and the benefits and challenges of a diverse population; 2.) Compare the beliefs, customs, ceremonies, traditions, and social practices of the varied cultures, drawing from folklore.

Artwork: Bowl with Landscape; Other Materials: Fresh Start Journal for each student: 7 pages of white folded in half and stapled to make a journal; lentil seeds; cups; water; pencils; paper; paper towels


  1. Discuss the common practice of creating a new year’s resolution as a way to make a fresh start.
  1. Students create their "Fresh Start Journal."
  1. View the Bowl with Landscape image. Ask student to share what these objects have in common (designs of plants and decorative writing). Have students choose one object and practice observing by sketching the designs onto the cover of their Fresh Start journal for at least 15 minutes. Ask students to discuss what more they discovered by looking closely.
  1. On the left side of the journal, observe, sketch, and label the progress of the sabze. On the right side, record the prog­ress on their new year’s resolution.
  1. To make a sabze:
    1. Soak one cup of lentil seeds (or wheat) in a bowl.
    2. Fill the bowl with water one inch above the seeds. Keep the bowl in a well-lit area inside of the house for two days.
    3. Remove the contents and spread it on a flat plate. Cover the plate with cloth. Keep the cover moist. After a few days you will start to see sprouts.
    4. Remove the cover and water the sprouts a few times a day. The sabze will grow to be a few inches tall (Iranian grocery stores in the U.S. sell prepared sabze).
  1. After thirteen days, throw the sabze into the water or garden.
  1. Write a reflection on the progress made towards your new year’s resolution. Discuss why making a resolution is a common practice among people celebrating the new year.

Major support provided by the PARSA Community Foundation.

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