My son Cory’s girlfriend Niloufar is Persian. She studies architecture at NDSU like Cory. She is a beautiful, intelligent, and focused young woman with a mind of her own. Needless to say, my family adores her.
Niloufar is from Iran. Her family members, which she is very close to, do not live in this area. Her brother lives in Canada, but her parents remain in Iran. I know she misses her family and her homeland terribly at times. It makes me sad for her because I know from hearing her speak of her family of her deep reverence and love for them.
Before I met Niloufar, I could have contained everything I know about Persians in a thimble. Now I am up to a full cup and I am barely skimming the surface in my efforts to learn more about Niloufar’s country, culture, and life experiences. I try and find the balance between learning new things from her without asking her too many questions. I do not want her to be uncomfortable and the kids always say my questioning sounds like an interrogation. I think they are misinterpreting my enthusiasm for aggressiveness, but the point is noted.
It was because of Niloufar that I learned of the Persian celebration of Yalda. Yalda is celebrated on the eve of the winter solstice with the last fresh fruits of the season, nuts, and sweets. It is a joyous family celebration that has a rich history and is filled with traditions. It is similar to our Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday celebrations.
From Niloufar I also learned that today, the start of the vernal equinox (also known as the first day of spring here), is the Persian New Year. It is called Nowruz and is another festive celebration of food and family. Did you know there are Nowruz greeting cards? Of course there are, but I must say that it never occurred to me before today. Check this card out – I do not understand a word that is being said, but I know it is happy sentiment. I will have to enlist Niloufar to interpret it.
I must say, I like the idea of the new year starting with the spring. It seems more in line with new beginnings than our January 1st start to a new year. It is now 1393 in Iran. Today begins a new year filled with promise and fresh starts.
Happy Nowruz! I start this year with a happy heart because of our Persian family member Niloufar. In addition to being a delight to have around, she is broadening the entire family’s knowledge and understanding of Persians and Iran with patience and grace. What a gift that is…fitting of 1393.
Day one thousand three hundred and fifty-three of the new forty – obla di obla da