Monday, March 21, 2016

Nowruz Mubarak (Happy Persian New Year) and Happy Birthday to the blog

Happy Persian New Year to my readers and a Happy Fifth Birthday to this blog!  I begin this year's celebration with President Obama’s Nowruz Message to the Iranian People.

President Obama sends best wishes to everyone celebrating Nowruz, March 20. 2016.
Like the President, I celebrate the nuclear deal with Iran.  I think it's a good thing, including holding oil prices down.

Follow over the jump for more on the holiday from Vox.

Persian New Year, or Nowruz, explained for non-Persians
In Iran, the idea of "spring cleaning" isn’t just a seasonal excuse to gut your closet; it’s the basis of a national holiday dating back millennia.

Every year, millions of Iranians celebrate Persian New Year, or Nowruz (prounced "no-rooz"). In Iran, the new year begins with the advent of spring, and most everyone in the country — not to mention the millions of Iranians living elsewhere around the world — observe it by doing a deep clean of their homes, celebrating a season of new life, and wishing for good luck in the year ahead.

You might have heard about Persian New Year peripherally. The UN formally recognized it as an international holiday in 2010; President Obama has extended Nowruz greetings to observers since 2009 (although they have often doubled as statements on the relationship between the United States and Iran). First lady Michelle Obama even held a Persian New Year celebration at the White House in 2015, complete with the Obama family's own haft-seen (more on what a haft-seen is later).

If you didn’t grow up celebrating Nowruz like I did, though, the concept might be confusing — and actually, it was even a little confusing for me, since my childhood memories of Persian New Year mostly concerned salivating over the delicious rice dish my mother would make in its honor.

But once I started to learn more about what Nowruz means outside of food — which, to be fair, is an important part of most holidays on this planet — I realized how fascinating its layered traditions really are.
Click on the link to read more about the holiday or if one is more audio-visual, watch the video in last year's entry.

Although Nowruz traditionally begins on the moment of the Vernal Equinox, I follow the UN's lead of celebrating it on the 21st, the International Day of Nowruz.  I do that because it coincides with the anniversary of the first post of the blog and marks the beginning of a new blogging year here.

Speaking of which, stay tuned for my annual series of retrospectives of the blogging year just completed, beginning with a statistics entry that updates the state of the blog since last year.