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Friday, March 16, 2007

The Green heritage of the Ancients

The colorful blossoms of the trees, pleasant song of birds, the charming pat of wind that has sprinkled the perfume of the fresh nature and flowers notify us of the arrival of another spring. The nature is the symbol of magnitude of God. In spring, it puts on green and vivacious clothing. In other words, it changes to educate us how to change. Obviously, human being has lost himself in this era. He needs some hints to become conscious of the aim of his creation, the existence of God and all of his gifts. Although spring is repeated every year, this repetition makes human ponder deeply about himself, his action, and his way of living. Iran has been the country of different feasts and traditions so far. In other words, the desire of happiness and being cheerful has been embedded in Iranian’s heart. One of the most important ancient feasts in spring is Nowruz festivities. The deity feature of this celebration is conversion and change. It seems as if it has learned this from spring. There are a wide variety of ancient costumes and traditions in different towns and villages for this feast. In addition, there are many myths about the advent of it.

This ancient celebration is superior to the other feasts because the equality of the name of the month and the day does not matter in this feast. Each year, it begins with chaos, excitement, and commotion but it is not odd and surprising. It is interesting to know that these disorders, commotions, and disarrangements are the manifestation and tradition of this feast. The ancient Iranian believed that agitation and disorder were the basic and root of order and arrangement. Most of the costumes are based on this principle. For example, in “spring – cleaning” at first every thing is in disarrangement then every thing is organized, ordered and cleaned. Some times, they made this disorder deliberately. For example, according to the custom of the “return of the departed,” they believed that the departed would return in Nowruz. Because of this, some men with black mask as symbols came and went in markets and alleys to mix up the span between death and life and erase the annual order. The remnant of this custom is the adventure of “Haji Firooz” whose black face is the symbol of coming of the world of the departed. “Mir Noroozi” was another custom for having fun and amusements .They replaced the position of the master with the position of the slave for fun. The other prevalent custom was “spring- cleaning” .They painted and cleaned the house and replaced old furniture with new ones. The reason was that they believed that the departed`s soul would return in their houses and get happy of the clean house and happy men. In addition, they knew the pitcher as the container of the annual dirt, corruption, and sorrow. In some parts of Iran, the women cooked the best foods and scattered on the graves. Also, they sow seeds such as wheat, barley, rice, bean, pea and corn to bring bliss and fertility. The other custom that was held in the last Wednesday of the year was called “chaharshanbe soori” in Persian. This Persian word means red Wednesday. In this day, people were very happy and decorated the markets and alleys with colorful lamps. In the evening, they put three or seven bushes or the old clothes and ignited them in the streets and deserts. Then, they jumped over the fire and song some poems with the theme of desiring bliss, health, fertility, and cleanliness. They did not extinguish the fire until it turned to ashes. Because they believed that it’s ashes was sacred. On the other hand, the young went to the roof of their neighbour`s house and threw a long shawl into the house from the opening of the room. The owner had to put a gift in the shawl. Of course, this custom was related to the desire of bliss and respect to the departed. The young girls and women did the other custom. In this custom, they wanted the departed to unlock the locks of their life with the key that was under their feet. They stood in the crossroad because it was the symbol of the rout of passing difficulties. Then, they put the key that was the symbol of solving their problems under their feet. At last, they listened secretly to the passersby’s conversation and in the first passersby’s conversation found or guess the solution of their problems. The most precious and common custom was the “tablecloth of Haftsin” They put things on the tablecloth which every one was the symbol of some thing. There were water and glass as the symbol of bliss and brightness, candle as the symbol of resistance of light and heat, the egg as the symbol of breed and embryo, the mirror as the symbol of purity and transparency, apple as the symbol of being secret of love, coin as the symbol of bliss and wealth, fish as the symbol of the name of the last month of the year, bread and Holy Book. Some of the Islamic historian believed that the first day of the New Year had been the start of the caliphate of Imam Ali and the creation of Adam. All of these effects have introduced this feast not only as an ancient and fascinating one but also as a sacred and religious feast. (

We are the inheritors of Nowruz Festivities and it’s customs. These days, noisy houses, and streets indicate the people who are preparing themselves to embrace another spring and welcome the New Year. Excitement, agitation, and ecstasy have run in the people’s vessels and blood and have brought back to life a new hope and new birth. The mothers attempt to clean the house as much as they can. In addition, the fathers try hard to buy necessary things for the feast and probably ticket for traveling. The children are look forward to having new clothes and taking New Year’s gratuity. In the last hours and moments of the year when the hands of clock goes near the New Year, all of the members of family gather around “ Haftsin Tablecloth”. They read Quran and pray bliss, happiness, and health for all of the people. Above all, a strange feeling overwhelms their hearts because the New Year turns another page of their life and opens a new blank page before their eyes in no time. Most of them are in thought of their deeds in the pervious year and plan new project for the New Year. Some of them complain about the seconds and minutes that tiptoe hastily. In the turn of the year, they congratulate their family, relatives, friends and neighbours on the New Year and crave them an excellent year. One of the best and the holiest convention is visiting each other in this ancient feast. At first, the young visit the old for respect. In addition, the people who had cut their friendship clean their hearts of vengeance and hostility and visit each other openly and the others secure their friendship by exchanging of visits. Altogether, this feast is full of kindness, friendship, and joy. The seasonings of all this humanities are delicious candy, sweets, meals, and colorful and tasty assorted nuts with extreme elation and pleasure.

God has started the life of the earth by spring to be a lesson for men. Spring means a new birth so it reminds us to be born and begin again. It is a good chance to clean our souls completely of dirties like our house and build a pure soul. Nowruz festivities present us many good things. It is a chance for rest, relaxation, recreation, revival of ancient customs and traditions, traveling and experiencing unknown things, planning to make up our pervious neglects and disregard, purification of soul and ourselves and making a fresh and pure self. Because of all of these, it is a rational decision to use and love it as much as we can and not to waste it aimlessly.

By Fahime

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