Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Persian New Year!

Eid Mubarak!
March 21 is the first day of spring, and it's also the Persian New Year, when Iranians around the world celebrate with mouthwatering feasts (rice with fresh herbs is a favorite) and presents of live goldfish (yes, really!).
This Persian holiday means a lot to me because as I mentioned in a recent post, when I was a little girl I used to live in Tehran (top picture - I am 18 months and in my mum's arms), where I developed a regrettable taste for caviar - not one I can indulge often. It was 1978-1979, the time of the Islamic revolution and we had to flee before my family could explore the many artistic, architectural and natural treasures of this country.

Ever since, I have felt an intense longing for Iran and have rejoiced in the friendship of Persian friends from Paris to LA. Many also fled their country in 1979 and this gives us an instant connexion, even if what they lost is incomparably more considerable than what we left behind. I love their warmth, their extraordinary sense of hospitality and exquisite, if sometimes over the top politeness, their wonderful food and their pride in a culture that boasts breathtaking masterpieces in poetry, visual arts, architecture,film and music; on the internet, I often listen to hypnotic traditional Iranian rhythms on RadioDarvish.com.
If anyone has Persian books to recommend, don't hesitate to share!

Today I'd like to thank all my Iranian friends for their precious generosity. And to celebrate the Persian new year, here's a poem by Omar Khayyam, the 11th century astronomer, mathematician and bard:

This Universal wheel, this merry-go-round
In our imagination we have found
The sun a flame, in the Cosmic lantern bound
We are mere ghosts, revolving, the flame surround

23 comments:

marie said...

oh happy new year..and beginning of spring too!
i think they should move the start of autumn here too..today's the first autumny day we've had!
i love hearing about your experiences..i've never been to iran, maybe one day..
oh and i forgot to ask if you had time to visit the duwich gallery last weekend?

jo said...

oh mary-laure, i love it when you tell about all those fantastic places you have lived in!!!

have you read persepolis by marjane satrapi? i really, really loved it!!!

Mary-Laure said...

Marie - unfortunately I didn't have time to visit the Duwich gallery...
I know you've been looking forward to autumn so... enjoy!

Jo - I haven't read Persepolis but it's definitely on my reading list. I'd like to see the movie too.

ALL THE BEST said...

As always you tell the most lovely stories! Happy New Year and happy spring!!

pve design said...

happy persian new year.
i have a wonderful college friend who came to the us from iran and she is lovely. your post reminded me to re-connect with her and wish her a happy new year.

Laura said...

I have many wonderful souvenirs of this beautiful country! Would love to go back.

A World in a PAN said...

I have tasted in Iran and abroad many Persian delicacies and wish I could know more to organize every year, as we do for the Chinese Lunar Year, a banquit for the Persian New Year !

Vain and Vapid said...

Happy eid... better call my best friend and tell her too since she celebrates it. Great post.

design for mankind. said...

Ahhh, I love this post! :)

Mariame said...

Ton blog est une fois de plus émouvant et tellement juste !

Jill said...

Such a nice and interesting post...I love hearing about all these amazing cultures you've been lucky enough to experience. Keep on writing!

Anonymous said...

Hey, hadn't you said you lived in Kenya?

Joanna Goddard said...

i love this post. also you were a ridiculously cute baby. love your cheeky smile!

Mary-Laure said...

PVE Design and Vain & Vapid - Happy Eid to your Persian friends! Do forward them my post so they can taste a litle Iranian cyberflavor...

Jill - thank you so much for your encouragements! I'm never sure whether or not I should write much on my blog, so it's good to know some people enjoy reading me...

Anonymous - actually, after spending time in Iran, my family moved to Kenya for a few years, then to Iraq and finally China before settling in France (I was 15 by then). My dad was an international businessman who changed locations every few years. All this was interspersed with lots of travels during the holiday, including regular trips to Uruguay where my grandparents are fromand where I'll be going next week...

Kiera said...

Wow, this is a great post.
Happy new year! It's so great that you've been to all these places! I hope one day I'll be able to experience the same type of excursion!

xo,
Kiera

the traveler's soul said...

the poem's calligraphy
is like a choreography

odd and even
dancing letters
embodying our sore
soul's restlessness
and innermost music

pierre said...

j'aime les regards croises
de la premiere photo.

celui de la maman
sur la petite fille
celui de la petite fille
sur le photographe
celui du photographe
sur la mamam
et la petite fille

j'aime la couleur de la terre
qui se perd
par horizons successifs

Esti said...

I thank you deeply the way you write your experiences. You take me many places, and I truly appreciatte that.

I'm sure you still have many interesting posts under your sleeve ("en la manga" en español)and I look forward to hreading those of your next trip to Uruguay.

I also recomend Persepolis, it shows Iran and its reality in a comic way, not in a poetic sense, but in the more down to earth one.

Happy Persian New year!

Adele said...

wow thats interesting i didnt know! nice blog :)

coco said...

Happy new Persian year
That picture at the top of this post is so sweet!

Ekub said...

Oh nice post! Your life certainly sounds very interesting and exotic! I've wanted to see (and read) Persepolis too, but haven't yet got around to it.

Mary-Laure said...

It sounds like many of you have read or want to read Persepolis!
I'm definitely going to get my hands on this graphic novel and it will be the subject of a new post on Iran.

Kwana said...

Happy Persian New Year! Thanks for sharing.