[By Shideh] It is this time of the year again; Yaade Norooz e Tehran Bekheir. I feel the nature’s longing for spring, I feel its heart beat for spring, its open arms to welcome spring as the trees, flowers, and every living creature (on the northern hemisphere) show their excitement for the New Year and are once again filled with life, waiting to greet a new day, Norooz. I want to deeply clean our house this weekend, clean every closet, every little detail that has been neglected for a year. I want to wear new clothes, get a hair cut, learn new things, meet new people, and send letters/emails/text messages to people I have already been fortunate to know. I want to be all prepared to greet Norooz this year, to be in phase with my surroundings in welcoming Spring into our little house in Berkeley, this wonderful Iranian tradition that I can’t imagine living without.
My mother has grown “sabzeh” for everyone in my family this year (a type of plant/herb, a “haft seen” item as a part of the Norooz tradition). Every morning I wake up to see that it has grown noticeably, as if it has realized that Norooz is coming in a week and it has to grow to a decent size before Norooz enters the house. Flowers in our little yard are all prepared and full of excitement and life while quietly waiting, as if they are holding their breath, looking at each other with their shiny eyes, hiding their smile, waiting…
The Iranian community in the Bay Area, California has organized a Norooz Celebration at the San Francisco City Hall on March 28th where Ballet Afsaneh is invited to perform. Here’s a summary of the dance performance (http://www.turquoisebridges.org/index2.php) that I thought you might find interesting:
“Celebrating the rebirth of nature and the renewed hopes of spring, the Opening Ceremony performance for Norooz 2008 is dedicated to the powerful goddess Anahita, the great mother goddess or Mother Nature, venerated and worshipped in many cultures and by many names, since prehistoric times.In Persian mythology Anahita rules the waters and the fertility of the earth. Her sacred animals are the peacock and the dove. In this performance, created by Sharlyn Sawyer of Ballet Afsaneh in collaboration with music composer Mohammad Nejad and the Nejad World Music Center orchestra, the ancient icons of Anahita are portrayed, along with the folk dance of the Gilan region in present day Iran, a region known for its agricultural bounty. The celebration of Norooz marked the first day of the year in historic times. It is a celebration of our renewed hopes, the dream of a world at peace, and in harmony with nature.”
A video of Ballet Afsaneh’s performance at the City Hall last year: