Grow "Samani" - Sprouted Wheat
Essay featuring Rachel and Lucas Shryock growing "Samani"
families share traditions. Perhaps it's a secret recipe that
has been passed down from generation to generation or a holiday
ritual that has become an annual event. For me, the most treasured
traditions originated in my grandparent's garden where seeds
were carefully planted in the springtime and tended throughout
Ultimately, the seeds matured into
the main ingredients for my grandmother's culinary creations.
Moist pumpkin bread, tangy rhubarb pie, or some other magical
dish unfailingly served as the centerpiece for our family gatherings.
Visible through the kitchen windows
of the small white house, the garden was an appropriate backdrop.
Like the garden, our family was always growing and changing,
but we were firmly supported by our roots.
So when my husband Jim and I planned to have a family, it was
only natural for us to look forward to the traditions that we
would celebrate with our own children. In January 2001, we traveled
to Baku to bring home our son Lucas (17 months) and our daughter
Rachel (18 months).
They were warm bundles of energy that soaked up our love and
brought wholeness to our hearts. Our parents, siblings, aunts,
uncles, and a host of cousins immediately embraced Rachel and
Lucas as an important part of what we call our "Forever
Left: Kathleen and Jim Shryock with Rachel and Lucas
who were adopted from Baku in January 2001. The children were
17 and 18 months old at the time. Now they are seven years old.
As our family continues
to evolve, we attempt to carry on familiar traditions that link
us to our past. We also embrace new traditions that will become
cherished memories for the future.
Recently, Jim and I started a new project that we believe will
be especially meaningful to Rachel and Lucas. We've adopted one
of the traditions that Azerbaijanis follow when they celebrate
"Novruz" (First Day of Spring on March 21st).
The word Novruz (No-ruz) is Persian and means "New Day".
In some countries, it is celebrated as the first day of the New
Year like our January 1st.
To celebrate Novruz, we decided to grow a plate of sprouted seed
or "Samani" (pronounced "sa-ma-NI" with the
accent on the last syllable. The letter "a" rhymes
with "a" in "fat cat").
At first, Rachel made us laugh by confusing the Azerbaijani word
"samani" with the English word "salami",
but as the wheat started to grow, she soon realized that we were
not growing lunch meat.
For the "samani" to
be ready for Novruz, you'll need to look at a calendar and count
backwards from March 21. Give yourself 10-14 days for the seeds
to grow. Start no later than March 10th. During the process of
growing the "samani", Rachel and Lucas understood that
they were celebrating a custom practiced in their birth country
to welcome the arrival of the most important holiday of the year.
Throughout this project,
Lucas often commented that the wheat was sprouting so fast that
it seemed to be growing right before his eyes. The same seems
to be true of my children.
They are learning, growing,
and changing so quickly.
As they grow, I hope that
they will continue to appreciate the customs that have helped
to define our family. In time, I hope they will embrace "samani"
as a tradition that not only connects them to their own heritage
in Azerbaijan but as a way to celebrate the universal hope symbolized
by the arrival of Spring.
More by Kathleen Shryock
Memories," [Creating your child's own biographical storybook].
AI 10.3 (Autumn 2002).
2. "Celebrating Our Families:
Second Reunion of Azerbaijan Adoptee Families" [Kansas City].
AI 11.3 (Autumn 2003).
3. "Embracing Our Adoptive
Family" ["Are They Yours?" What to do when strangers
ask too many personal questions]. AI 13.2 (Summer 2005).
AI 14.4 (Winter
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