So here’s a recent question from a reader of the blog: “Any ideas for Persian Valentine? Thank you!”
Thank you for your question! If you are looking for something to treat your Valentines to, may I suggest a Persian Love Cake.
And for kid-friendly crafts, maybe using the words عشق eshgh (love), دوستت دارم dooset daram (I adore you) on available crafts would add a touch of Persian to your Valentines. Also using Persian Cats with a tagline of you are Purrfect would be cute:
I will add more ideas as we get closer. But I hope this helps! If anyone else has suggestions or links, please chime in. Thanks!
This is one of my go-to recipes for a quick and easy homemade meal. Kabob Tabeyi (Kabob in a Pan)
It can simply be made with the beef, onions, and spices without the tomato paste or for added taste and flavor, you can follow my recipe below:
- 2 lbs Ground beef
- 1 Large Onion
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- Cumin (2 tablespoons)
- Tomato Paste (2-3 tablespoons)
- My Favorite Toppings: potato slices, onion rings
- Optional Toppings: halved tomatoes, sliced peppers, mushrooms
Grind the large onion using a grinder or food processor. Combine the ground beef, diced onions, salt, pepper and cumin and mix well. Flatten the meat into a large pan and cook on medium heat until the meat starts giving off its juices and browns on both sides (no lid on pan needed for this stage). This normally takes 5-10 minutes. If the meat is drying out, add some water. Then using a wooden spatula, divide the meat into equal slices. Turn each piece of meat over to its other side. At this point, add enough water to cover the meat half-way and add the tomato paste. Add some salt, pepper, and cumin to the water in the pan. Put the lid on the pan and allow the meat to cook for another 10 minutes or so. Then add the toppings (as little or as much as you like), close the lid, and let the ingredients cook thoroughly. If you notice the liquid in the pan drying out, add some more water. The potato slices and onion rings are a staple for this dish in my house. The mushrooms, tomatoes, and peppers are not as well received with my children so I usually don’t include them.
This dish is served with rice and is complimented beautifully with a Shirazi salad or garden salad. Noosheh jaan konid! Bon a petit!
A lot happened around the world in 2014, much of it marked by tragedy. It changed me as a person forever. Horrific images of war, sad news about friends’ losses and health battles, racism still wide awake, drifts amongst friends over political views, and differences in opinion. I never felt more connected and involved with the world than I have, all at a touch of a button and through a computer screen. However, the tragedy of it all helped me a climb a step higher towards self realization that goes directly back to Rumi’s poem quoted above. So the New Year’s resolution this year is to work even more so on myself and focus on what I want to contribute to society rather than focusing on what society has offered us so far.
May you fulfill a dream or two or many in 2015 and continue on your road to success. May you have both physical and mental health for you and your loved ones. As one without the other is Ying without Yang. May your days be full of purpose leading to a better future for not only yourself, but for everyone you cross paths with. May your nights be full of peace and a time to reflect. And may your surroundings be as beautiful as your soul.
The December (Winter) solstice has played an important role in cultures worldwide from ancient times until our day. Persians have celebrated the Northern Hemisphere’s Winter Solstice, Shabeh Yalda شب یلدا (the night of Yalda) for centuries. It is traditionally known for a night of gatherings with friends and family, staying up late, eating, and reciting poetry faaleh Hafez (divinations from the poet, Hafez’s, book).
The traditions are rooted in light superstition of staying up past midnight with a group to ward off the evil of the longest night of the year. Yalda has a history as long as the religion of Mithraism. The Mithraists believed that this night is the night of the birth of Mithra, Persian angel of light and truth. At the morning of the longest night of the year the Mithra was born. On Yalda night it is customary to have a table spread of pomegranates, watermelon, ajeel (assorted nuts), and persimmons.
Here is a link to Divaneh Hafez (Hafez’s book of poetry) in Persian and in English translation.
And here is a coloring sheet for your children to encourage them to become familiar, not only with the traditions of Shabeh Yalda, but the words in Persian, Penglish, and English!
I wanted to take this opportunity to wish all my readers and wonderful supporters, and everyone who celebrates something around this time of the year, a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays followed by an amazing New Year full of health, laughter, and love. I am absolutely exhilarated when I hear from you, whether it’s for the feedback and suggestions you provide, our sense of unity when we can relate to one another through our experiences, or just your outright words of encouragement. Thank you!
Here I have posted our humble little Christmas tree mainly decorated with trinkets and ornaments that the kids have made at school. To be honest, deciding on whether to celebrate Christmas was a bit of a cultural struggle for my husband and I initially. While we both love festive holidays, beautiful Christmas lights, the sight of Santa Claus with his white fluffy beard, and the feel of everything Christmas, we felt a bit hypocritical in celebrating it. It was almost like by giving into this celebration we may be losing a bit of our Persian identity. So we questioned ourselves, challenged one another, and eventually came to the conclusion that we would indeed be putting up a little tree to culturally connect us with the rest of America. However we were very clear to our children we did not celebrate Christmas as most others do. We were not going to be buying presents for one another. We often don’t have the luxury of visiting our parents and having a big feast with them at this time either. Instead, we will put up our festive tree, and spread the holiday cheer by donating toys to kids who didn’t have them. I feel like we have found our balance and SO FAR, we have had no complaints from the kids. We reserve the present giving and big fuss for our Persian New Year, Norooz, to make the kids extra excited about it.
It once came up during a cultural leadership seminar that I went to (specifically a PAAIA NexGen conference) , that for immigrants, it is natural to lose a part of their culture as they migrate to another country. If they didn’t, they would become a museum, rather than an integrated part of their new society. It’s true. As immigrants, we are morphed into something new, what can be a beautiful amalgam of two or more cultures. But the challenge remains; what aspects of our Persian culture do we want to leave behind, and what are essential in the keeping. Only YOU can answer this for yourself and decide what kind of amalgam you choose to be. But if we are representing the Persian culture abroad, and as we pick up new habits and traditions, I hope you will remember this for our future generation:
“He said that if culture is a house, then language was the key to the front door; to all the rooms inside. Without it, he said, you ended up wayward, without a proper home or a legitimate identity.” ― Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed
Wishing you all the best,
Teaching your children about child abuse can prevent it. It is an uncomfortable talk for both parents and children to have as no one likes to think about these issues. But it is our duty as parents to bring it up to our children and at a very young age. I came across this video and think it can help teach parents how to discuss it with their children. I suggest you share all or parts of the cartoon with them (depending on your comfort level) or perhaps putting in your own words to make the chid understand. So please do your children a favor and talk to them about this no matter how uncomfortable it makes you and/or them.
I have also provided the Persian version as well below.
Thanksgiving is such a special time of the year. A time to sit around family and friends, eat and drink in abundance, wash down the delicious meal with decadent desserts and to bask in the glory of all your blessings. And often our children are reminded and taught through school how and why this feast became an annual celebration.
However for an immigrant new to the country, or a foreign student forced to leave the dorms for Thanksgiving, it can be a very lonely time of year. It is often a time that makes us long for our homes, our parents’ embrace, our mother’s home cooked meal, and the warmth of a friendly embrace. So, this Thanksgiving amongst giving thanks for our blessings, appreciating all that we have, I invite you to think of those people as well and perhaps make it a tradition to open up your home to such friends as well. I always remember my friends’ parents who welcomed us to their Thanksgiving feast knowing that we were miles away from our own families and for that I am always grateful.
With this small note, here are a few gobbly fun treats to make and enjoy.
I am beyond thrilled to bring you this helpful and constructive article written by Yalda Modabber, Golestan’s Executive Director, upon my request (and perhaps pestering) on how we can help our children learn their mother tongue, and do it before it’s too late. It’s not easy, but it can be done and Yalda and her sons are proof of that. Through her persistence and accepting the sacrifices it takes, she has empowered her own children to speak Persian, despite them being a multicultural family. I admire Yalda, not only for succeeding in her own personal mission, but her willingness to always help others with theirs. Thank you for being such a gem in our community!
Empowering Our Children to Avoid the Point of No Return
I wanted to emphasize a few points from the article that really stood out to me, but honestly ALL the recommendations are on point! I hope you found it useful, and if so, please share with your friends.