Tuesday, March 24, 2009

NowRuz, NoRuz, NoRooz (Persian New Year)

Need a reason to celebrate and have a party between Valentines Day and Easter/Passover? Fouad provided the reason and the food last weekend. NoRooz (with accent on the rooz) is the celebration of the Persian New Year which also falls on the vernal equinox. This year it was on March 20th at 08:44 EDT. A Friday morning party wasn't really in the works, but the good thing about NoRooz is that the celebration lasts for 2 weeks. Those Persians really know how to bring in the New Year. So we went to Fouad and Mary's home on Saturday night for a Persian feast (compliments of Mary's wonderful cooking), and as always, Fouad provided the color commentary with all manner of details about how this celebration is supposed to take place.
It is so good to be home! We missed family- and friends- and celebrations- for any reason. And NoRooz was a great way to begin the spring celebrations! PS- And it is always great to have an excuse to eat Mary's cooking! Now that is something to celebrate.

As an added bonus this year, my cousin Vicki and her husband Lindell were in the process of moving from Ft Worth to Pittsburgh and were able to stop over in Cincinnati on their way. Of course Fouad welcomed them to the celebration, because we all know how much Fouad loves a party. Vicki and Lindell will be so much closer (notice Pittsburgh is just not that far from Cincy)- so we expect to see a whole lot more of them!

The celebration started off with Fouad providing an overview of how this party is supposed to be done in Iran. The picture below shows Fouad in front of a table that was laden with examples of traditional fare.

All of the symbolic items were there mostly representing the arrival of Spring. Eggs that are a symbol of new birth seem to be a staple of all Spring celebrations including Easter and Passover. In addition there was also a blooming Hyacinth, garlic, an apple, sumac berries, vinegar and a few other signs of Spring. There are traditionally 7 of these items which represent the seven angelic heralds of life-rebirth, health, happiness, prosperity, joy, patience, and beauty.Another symbol of this holiday is fire. People normally build a bonfire and then jump over it, something that burns off all the bad things in life. We took a different approach and each one of us lit a candle which were allowed to burn out. Below are Vicki and Lindell and below them are Fouad and Me. Note that I am smiling for the camera. I think we still need to work a bit on Don's smile. What do you think?

In addition to jumping over fires (or lighting candles) and eating well, people also cover themselves with cloths, go outside, and bang on pots to welcome the new year. As usual, Fouad provided an excellent example of how it is done. That's him under the cloth.

Another tradition is that the mothers in the celebration are given eggs to eat. They get one for each of their children and grandchildren. Max's expression below pretty well describes her response. I think we can paraphrase it as: "you want me to do what?" Wow- now I like hard boiled eggs- I mean really- I really like hard boiled eggs. But I have a LOT OF CHILDREN- AND GRANDCHILDREN- so I was staring at 13 eggs (fortunately I was spared the grand baby #7 coming in June)- So next year I'm going to have 14 EGGS!

And finally after dinner, Fouad brought out the traditional hookah. Don't take this picture wrong. I was asked to demonstrate the proper use of a hookah and did my best to provide an appropriate digital moment. Trust me- we didn't do anything illegal- we're too old- too tired- and of course we're all now going to bed early- so the party is OVER- when the young ones are just getting started-But we had a great time! And are looking forward to next year- and the start of spring!


Lucas said...

What a fantastic and festive celebration! I love the symbolism behind this party and everything looks so vibrant and colorful.

Aunt Max,
Two words. Egg Salad.

You know you can never run for office now, right? ;)

And isn't it funny how Don's natural smile has enough wattage to light up an entire city, yet he doesn't enjoy smiling for the camera? But really UD, those dimples are too good not to share with the world!

Beyond The Strip said...

Cool party, looks like a lot of fun! I'll forgive Don for the grimace since I'm familiar with smiling for the paparazzi for years on end for one photo. Is that Micheal Phelps in the last picture?