Celebrating Norouz at the White House — and with Peacock Cafe

The Persian New Year chimed in with the beginning of spring last week on the vernal equinox, and the White House held a reception “in celebration of Nowruz” (another way to spell the new year observance).

For local favorite, Peacock Cafe, this time of year is special and personal. Co-owners Shahab and Maziar Farivar are proud Iranian-Americans, who came to the U.S. in the late 1970s. Their restaurant has been on Prospect Street since 1991. The Farivar brothers have become an important part of Georgetown by their community involvement, culinary excellence — and general cheerfulness and caring.

“We were honored to be invited to The White House for observing the Persian New Year and in support of the freedom movement in Iran #womanlifefreedom. Thank you, President Biden @potus and Dr Jill Biden @flotus, for acknowledgments and the support,” they wrote on social media. “A wonderful gathering, for Norouz, a cultural event dating back over 3,000 years and in support of the brave women, girls and all the freedom seekers in Iran.”

As they did every year, they told their fans: “Join us at @peacockcafe for a special dinner menu celebrating Norouz.”

Hurry, there’s only a few days left to celebrate. We recommend the Mahi Torsh-o-Shirin — pistachio-crusted Grouper, over sauteed spinach, sweet and sour sauce of dried apricots, figs, sour cherries and almonds.

At the White House and at Peacock Cafe, a “Haft-Sin” table celebrating 7 symbols of spring, renewal and the new year is on display as would be expected in all households and establishments celebrating the Persian new year. The table is traditionally an arrangement of symbolic elements each starting with the letter “س” in Farsi pronounced “seen,” which is the 15th letter in the Persian alphabet. The symbolic elements include: Sabzeh (wheat, barley, mung bean or lentil sprouts grown in a dish; Samanu (wheat germ sweet pudding); Senjed (oleaster); Serkeh (vinegar); Seeb (apple); Seer (garlic); and, Somagh (sumac). Some celebrants also include a book of wisdom, a fish bowl, and a mirror to reflect upon the coming of the new year.

Nowruz “Haft-Sin” display at the White House. Courtesy Peacock Cafe.


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