Celebrating Persian New Year – Twice

Sunday evening Prez and I went over to Mishana’s ‘rents to celebrate Persian New Year and had a wonderful time.  Sunday was the first day of spring, although you certainly wouldn’t know it here in New England, and many cultures have this time as a holiday.  It was traditionally the start of the Assyrian new year, which is now celebrated April 1, and it is of course Purim.  This was our first time celebrating the holiday in the traditional manner.  Mish and her family coached us through the various parts.  A highlight was the attempt to balance an egg on its end at the very moment of the equinox – 7:20pm.  Here is a picture of Mishana and her cousin trying it.  We filmed it but alas – this year it was not meant to be:

Here is a gathering of many of the traditional items – you can read the Wiki article to get details on each.  The items have all been part of it for many years – only the Qur’an is a later addition:

The bushy thing in the foreground is sprouted lentils.  In Iran the thing to do would be to float them down the river to, as I understand it, send bad things away.  If there is no river nearby you just put them outside for the rain to take.

Of course there was food.  Again, the Wikipedia article breaks it all down.  Everything was delicious and we were able to keep the lenten fast – there was fish and rice and vegetables.  After I gave the blessing Eleni and I ate – believe me – and we were full but not stuffed unlike, say, at a typical Greek event.  The food was all light and fresh, and there was no cheese or bread, which of course are huge in Greek meals, so maybe that was it:

Again, it was a fabulous evening, and the best part of it was the company – what a joy to be with everyone for this celebration.

I mentioned in the subject celebrating the New Year twice.  Earlier in the day, Jasmin, who is Persian, was baptized in our church.  Adult baptisms are always special, but this one had an interesting twist – Jasmin chose to enter the faith on this day because it is Persian New Year and therefore a fortuitous time for the new life that comes not just with spring but also baptism.  So this joyous event was in a way our first celebration of the holiday on Sunday.

 

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