Project 6060 – Lesson 47
In Iran, some of the celebrations, like ‘Noruz’, are national and some others, like ‘Eyd-e Fetr’ are religious. As such, Iranian celebrations are called national celebrations when they are rooted in Iranian history and have arrived from ancient times to modernity. These celebrations don’t belong to one specific religion or ethnic group and some of them (like Noruz) still exist, although some others (like Baharbad) have been forgotten. Of course some ethnic and regional celebrations also exist, which are only celebrated by one specific ethnic group or are held in some regions of Iran.
An inspection of the Iranian celebrations and the times that they are held shows that most of them have some common characteristics. For example, most of them are related to natural phenomena and the weather and they always hold a regard for nature. Another characteristic of Iranian national celebrations is that they are unrelated to anybody’s dates of birth or death. It appears, from Ancient Iranian texts, that in Ancient Iran, nobody’s date of birth had much importance. Noruz is the first day of Farvardin and the start of spring, a celebration of the start of the Iranian New Year, the most important Iranian celebration and one of the oldest celebrations remaining from ancient Iran. Noruz is also considered the start of the New Year in Afghanistan and in some other countries it is an official holiday.
In 2010, the General Assembly of the United Nations officially recognised the 21st of March as the international date of the, originally Iranian, Noruz festival, and placed it on their calendar. A few days before the New Year, the people of Iran get ready for Noruz. They buy new clothes and things and clean their houses.
The thirteenth of Farvardin is the last day of the Noruz holidays. On this day, people go outside of the city to have fun and spend all or most of the day playing and having fun in the countryside with relatives and friends. They call this ritual ‘Sizda be Dar’.
After Noruz, the most important Iranian celebration is ‘Mehregan’, or the Mehr festival, which was on the first day of Mehr, the start of Autumn, and since the Sasanian period has been on the sixteenth of Mehr. Some Iranians relate this celebration to one of the mythical stories of the Shahname and they say that when ‘Kave Ahangar’ rebels in order to free Iran and its people from the hands of ‘Zahak’, the oppressive ruler, finally on this day he is victorious over ‘Zahak’ with a plan and the assistance of ‘Ferydun’. Like Noruz, at Mehregan the length of night and day becomes equal. In ancient Iran, the Mehregan celebration involved a special ceremony and formalities. Some say that in the Achaemenid time, even more attention was paid to this celebration than to Noruz, since at that time the New Year started with Mehr; i.e. it began at the start of autumn and people harvested the crops and would pay their tax to the king’s treasury. In this celebration, representatives from the different social classes amongst the people would come to visit the king, pay tribute to him and bring him gifts. The people would spread multi-coloured tablecloths and on them lay out various autumnal fruits and food and drinks, play music and dance.
This festival has recently been revived and held by ex-pat Iranian communities, amongst Zoroastrians and by some Iranians from within the country. Nowadays, this celebration includes the recital and reading of the story of ‘Zahak’ from the Shahname, people have fun, they sing, they listen to music and they dance.
Another of the ancient Iranian celebrations that has remained until today and that Iranians all over the world celebrate is the Shab-e Yalda celebration. This celebration is held at the start of winter and Iranians respect the longest night of the year and, following that, the increasing length of the days. On this night, Iranian families gather together and eat various foods, special nuts and seasonal fruits like watermelons, grapes and pomegranates and grandfathers and grandmothers tell stories, read Hafez poetry and tell fortunes for their children and grandchildren.
Translation of Dialogue
Maryam: Next Friday we’re having a party to celebrate Mehregan. Can you come?
Bahman: Yeah, I don’t have anything special planned.
Maryam: Then you must read us some poetry.
Bahman: Ok, I’ll read the story of Zahak for you.
Maryam: Can you recite it for us?
Bahman: I don’t know it well. But I can tell one of my friends to come and recite it for us.
Maryam: That’s great; the guests will definitely like that.
Bahman: I hope so.
Traduction de Dialogue
Traducción de Diálogo