Seezdah-bedar is an Iranian festival, celebrated in the thirteenth and final day of  No-Ruz (Persian New Year).

On this day, Iranians head outdoors, picnicking at parks, fields or where-ever they find a patch of green grass. Seezdah means thirteen, and bedar, get rid of, hence Seezdah Bedarliterally means “getting rid of thirteen”. We believe heading outdoors and enjoying fresh air on the last day of festivities will clean the mind from evil thoughts, replacing it with joy and laughter. One of my favourite customs on this day is the knotting of blades of grass by unmarried girls. The knots represent love and bringing together of the single girls with their beloved. As young girls, my cousins and I knotted the blades with great enthusiasm, all the while dreaming of the latest celebrity that held our infatuation.

Families in Tehran enjoying Seezdah Bedar

At the end of the picnic day, it’s ritual to throw away the Sabzeh.

 In my memoir, Under a Starless Sky I share with the reader many of Iran’s customs and traditions. Aside from telling the journey my family took to arrive in Australia, our traditions are extremely important to me. They are what makes us uniquely Iranian, they tie us to our ancestral land.


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