For most of my life I grew up in the States. I was born here. I’m Persian and American. Most of the time I feel fifty-fifty, other times the ratio slightly adjusts itself based on my mood and experiences.It’s always interesting to me when I meet people who try to deny their cultural background and seem embarrassed by where they came from. Each instance is different. Each situation is unique. And I’m trying to be less judgmental and more understanding of this.
Like the many American traditions I enjoy, I really appreciate my Persian background and culture. I try to incorporate it as often as possible in my little family. Hubby and I speak our broken Farsi as much as we can to Little Man, so that when he grows up he can proudly say he speaks Farsi.
Persian traditions are so rich with symbolism and meaning. At the moment, we’re in the midst of celebrating Persian New Year, ‘Nowruz.’ It marks the exact astronomical beginning of Spring, which is why it’s always at a different time (usually on March 21 depending on where in the world it’s observed). This year it was at 9:30 PM. Like every year, we were gathered around a whole bunch of family watching Persian TV, counting down. As soon as the clock struck 9:30, everyone got up at the same time, hugging and kissing, and wishing each other wonderful things for the coming year. Sweets were passed around, and cash gifts were given, usually to the younger ones.
We have a lovely table called the haft-seen where we have seven items that have symbolic importance (but we put other things of meaning on the table as well).The rule is that the names of these seven items should begin with the Persian letter, ‘Seen.’ For example, one of the items is garlic ‘seer,’ symbolizing health for the year to come.
We have thirteen days of celebration, where traditionally we visit homes of our elders, eating and celebrating. On the thirteenth day we end the whole shebang by going to a park to picnic and have more good times.
So many sweet traditions…I haven’t even listed a fraction of them here. I think it’s so important to teach our kids about our cultural backgrounds. It builds more character, adds more depth. And I really hope that these wonderful traditions don’t slowly fade away. I’m proud of both of my cultural backgrounds. And I hope Little will be too.
Baby steps, and happy spring,