Saturday, March 21, 2009

Nowruz Greetings by President Obama

This is why I respect him so much...

And yes, Iranians did really like this gesture. I really wished Khatami hadn't refused candidacy. Him snd Obama would make a good match - exactly like Ahmadinejad and Bush did.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chaharshanbe Suri

Every yea,r, as a prelude to Norouz and new year celebrations, Iranians practice the tradition of Chaharshanbe Suri. Chaharshanbe is the Persian world for Wednesday and this festive tradition takes place the night before the last Wednesday of the ending year.

Traditionally, people would light up bonfires and jump over them, singing special songs. The most famous song calls for health and happiness by asking the fire to get the yellow color off the face of the jumper (resembling paleness and sickness) and trade it with its fiery red (resembling joy, health and happiness). People may also get together (traditionally in the elders' houses) and eat a special mix of nuts and dried fruits among many other things.

Unfortunately in recent years, this tradition has witnessed some changes. Most bonfire songs have given their place to disturbing sounds of crackers and other hand-made or cheap and unsafe explosives. The call for health and happiness has been replaced by the risk of explosions and arson.

Despite the unfortunate casualties brought about by modern times, Chaharshanbe Suri can still be called a festive occasion. It is a tradition that has survived a few thousand years of military and cultural invasions and is now shared by all Iranians regardless of religion, cultural or political beliefs.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Norouz and the New Year

Minute by minute, we're getting closer to the end of the year. Feeling the spring filling the air. Housewives "shaking their houses" as we call the tradition of cleaning every inch of the house to welcome the new year. Streets full of rushing people. Some in and out of travel agency's to find the best way to spend two weeks of vacation. Some in and out of shops to buy presents, buy nice and new clothes. Some in and out of banks , asking for new, shiny, stiff, unfolded bills to give out as gifts or "Eidy's" when relatives are visiting. Every body is excited. Friday afternoon, they are going to celebrate the beginning of the new year of the Solar Calender; Iranian calender.

Among all Iranian traditions, I love Norooz the best. It is all about harmony with nature. I'm not sure of the origin of this tradition (I have to study my Wikipedia), but all I know is that it is among the very few Iranian traditions that have survived the invasion of Islam. Even now, although Quran is among the ingredients of "Haft Sin" Islam has little to do with this celebration. Norouz (unlike other Iranian and Muslim holydays or "Eyd"s) is the birth of no Imam, it is the ending of no fasting month. It just celebrates the Re-birth of nature, and inspiration of hope. Or at least that's how see it.