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Irani Culture

(2006-10-24 16:26:39)
分类: Culture

Irani Culture

In search of sufis

1,We walked up to the building where the ceremony was to be held. Carpets covered the floor and the green flag of Islam hung in the corner to be kissed by all who entered. The preacher eyed me with curiosity as i entered but continued his discourse about the miracle of pregnancy to a small group of men. Some of them had long, flowing hair which they curled up in a hat like a Rastafarian.

2,After the ceremony I could find few words to express what i'd seen and felt. The song still resonated within me and i didn't need to know what the words meant to appreciate their beauty. Fahrzad told me it made him feel like crying for joy.

3,The next morning we climbed up the mountain while it was still dark so that we might watch the sun rise. It was Friday, the day of prayer and so everyone was on holiday. The young people were the swiftest of foot and so had gathered up there first by a small spring. It was one of the few occasions they had to escape the watchful eyes of their elders and they reveled in the taste of freedom. Hell, there were even boys talking to girls. The camera rolls. There are dafs being played to encourage the opening of the spirit and men in circles roll their heads and chant to Allah. Once everyone is sufficiently intoxicated with the presence of God, the rituals begin. Swords are driven through waists, needles through cheeks and one man even had spikes hammered into his head. All with no blood and no apparent pain on the faces of these ordinary people.

Okay, there are performers in the West who can also eat light bulbs and pierce parts of their body but the protagonists here were simple bus drivers, teachers and farmers. None of them had any experience of this kind of thing and no one was getting paid to do it.

Still, I didn't really see the point of it all. Perhaps it was a powerful demonstration of the power of God to strengthen belief. But it all seemed a little extreme to me and i wasn't very moved to test my faith with a sword through the waist.

 

 "Now Ruz" is the only time that Iranians of all religions, regions, and ethnic groups come together as a national group. Now Ruz (pronounced no-ruze), the Iranian New Year Festival, is the greatest of the Persian feasts and celebrations.

    As a spring rite, Now Ruz symbolizes all qualities of the season: rebirth, awakening, and the importance of family and friends. In popular Persian legend, Now Ruz was said to have been instituted by the mythical Persian King Jamshid. Now Ruz has a long history: When the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving, Now Ruz had already been around for more than 2,000 years.

    Preparation for this festival begins weeks before the New Year actually arrives. Families plant wheat and lentil grains so they will sprout by Now Ruz.

    On New Year's Day itself, it is the custom to wear new clothes, exchange gifts and visit relatives and friends. About an hour before the moment that signifies the arrival of spring, or Now Ruz, the family gathers around the "haft-seen".

 

 

   The haft-seen is a table decorated with seven items, the names of which in Farsi begin with "seen" or the letter "s". Among the most popular are serkeh (vinegar); sekeh (coin); seeb (apple); sounbol (hyacinth); seer (garlic); somagh (a spice); samanu (sweet wheat pudding); and senjed (a dried fruit from an Asian deciduous tree). In addition, there should be a plate of sabzi, (greens), which usually consists of home-grown wheat or lentil sprouts.

    The table may also be decorated with a Qur'an, candle, and a goldfish in a bowl. These items are believed to bring happiness to every family during the New Year.

     Now Ruz is the most joyous holiday of the year as well as the longest holiday in Iran. There is feasting, family gatherings, and playing games. No wander small children look forward eagerly to the Now Ruz holiday.


    The period of the Now Ruz festivities extends for two weeks. It begins on the last Wednesday of the outgoing year, called "Chahar-Shanbeh Souri", the Farsi term for Wednesday. The festivities continue until the thirteenth day of the New Year (Sizdah Bedar - the Farsi word for thirteen). Since Iranians consider thirteen a symbol of bad luck, they counteract its evil by dwelling only on the good. Earth, air, and water are purifying elements that can ward off the evils of the thirteenth day of the New Year. On the morning of this day, Iranians plan an outdoor picnic. They also take along the green sprouts grown for the haft-seen table and ceremoniously toss them into a stream of water.

    For all Iranians, no matter where they may be when the Now Ruz arrives, the most important part of the celebration is the reunion of family and friends. We happily celebrate the Now Ruz holiday because of its great cultural and national significance for all Iranians.

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