It’s March and it’s time to begin our countdown to Norouz!
Khooneh Tekooni خونه تکونی (spring cleaning) is traditionally done a few weeks before the arrival of Norouz. It’s really a thorough cleaning from the top of your house to the bottom! It’s a good time to donate unused items and tend to those ignored windows and curtains.
Usually two weeks before Norouz is a good time to start growing your Sabzeh سبزه (sprouts).
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,
With our beloved Persian New Year نوروز (Norouz) approaching and the smell and sight of Spring not too far away (except for people in the Northeast of course, cause I hate to break it to you, but I heard you have another Polar vortex approaching) here is a great idea to promote Norouz in our communities and schools. I hope that one day Norouz will be as easily recognized in our community as Easter, the Chinese New Year, Hanukkah, and Christmas are.
At around this time, it is customary to begin spring cleaning for the fast approaching Persian New Year (Norouz), which always falls on the Spring Equinox. So, it would be a great idea to promote a clothing drive or some kind of spring cleaning event in our community and schools with Norouz in mind. Here is an event that my sister-in-law started at her children’s school. It was a clothing drive that benefited their local Big Brother’s Association for Norouz. You would need to get in touch with the charity of your choice while also getting the permission from your child’s school. It may help to begin with a locally recognized and supported charity so that the community you live in can relate. I hope that I can pull this off at my daughter’s school this year. We shall see 🙂 But even if I don’t, I hope I have planted a seed of inspiration that will hopefully grow as fast and tall as your Norouz sprouts سبزه sabzeh. Together we can benefit our community while raising awareness of our Persian culture and teaching our kids the beauty of charity and leadership.
The Persian writing above is Saadi’s poem used in the flyer and here is the Penglish for those who understand Persian but can’t read it:
Bani aadam azaayeh yek digarand Keh dar aafarinesh ze yek goharand
Cho ozvy be dard aavarad roozegar Degar ozvhaa ra namaanad gharaar
To keh ze mehnateh digaraan bi ghamy Nashayad keh naamat nahand aadamy
There will be more on Norouz and crafts you can do with your kids coming soon! Stay tuned and as always I welcome your suggestions, feedback, opinions, and expertise!
با تشكر Ba tashakkor (with thanks),