Category: Persian Culture & History

Sadeh Festival

Sádeh (Midwinter Festival)

by Mason Balouchian

Sadeh1Sádeh, an ancient Persian festival is celebrated in mid winter about Jan. 29th by lighting fire near water in the evening. It symbolizes defeating the forces of darkness. Sád means one hundred and refers to number of the days past summer. The fire is kept alive all night. According to Zoroastrian tradition the fire is blessed and the following day, people carry a portion of that to their homes. Then they would transfer the remaining fire to the temple to join with the eternal fire. This festival lasts three days. The people prepare food which is distributed among the poor. They also sing and play different games.

Mehregan Festival

Mehregan Festival

By Mason Balouchian

mehregan3
After Noruz, Mehregan is the most important Persian Festival. The word  Mehr refers to the Sun, Love and Friendship. This festival begins about Oct. the 7th and continues for six days. Since at this time of the year farmers start gathering their crops, Mehregan has been attributed to farmer’s festivity and thanksgiving for the harvest when and food they store for the cold season. It is also said that on this day Fereydun, the legendary king of Iran vanquished Dahaka, the mythological devil, and imprisoned him in Mount Damavand. Whatever the origin, Mehregan is celebrated for love, life, thanksgiving and happiness.

Molana – Rumi

 

Rumi

Author: Mason Balouchian

MolanaJalale-din Mohammad Balkhy known as Molana or Rumi is one of the most famous Persian poets of the thirteen century. His remarkable book, Masnavi, includes twenty six thousand verses of poetry revealing both theoretical and applied Sufism speculating that perfection is reached through battle against the ego and not by interpretation. He sought wisdom through unmanifested discipline and not deceptive pretension. Masnavi starts with the story of the reed visualizing man enslaved by material world and complaining how he was isolated from Nirvana. He has compared man to reed and lute many times in his book.

The story of the reed

Translated by:  Feyzi Halici

Listen to the reed how it tells a tale, complaining of separations—

Saying, “Ever since I was parted from the reed-bed, my lament hath caused man and woman to moan.

I want a bosom torn by severance, that I may unfold (to such a one) the pain of love-desire.

Every one who is left far from his source wishes back the time when he was united with it.

In every company I uttered my wailful notes, I consorted with the unhappy and with them that rejoice.

Every one became my friend from his own opinion; none south out my secrets from within me.

My secret is not far from my plaint, but ear and eye lack the light

 

Omar Khayyam

Omar Khayyam

Author: Mason Balouchian

KhayyamOmar Khayyam (1048-1131 AD) was a Persian philosopher, mathematician, astrologer, and poet. He has also written about music, climatology, geography, mechanics, and mineralogy. He was born in Neishaboor. His fame throughout the world is because of his quatrains (Robaiyat of Omar Khayyam) translated and adapted by Edward FitzGerald (1809-83). His dominance on different scientific subjects including editing the Solar Calendar made him a celebrated scholar of the Persian history.

The following quatrains were translated by Edward FitzGerald

 

And if the Wine you drink, the Lip you press,
End in what All begins and ends in – Yes;
Think then you are To-Day what Yesterday;
You were – To-Morrow you shall not be less.
————
For I remember stopping by the way
To watch a potter thumping his wet clay:
And with its all-obliterated Tongue
It murmur’d—”Gently, Brother, gently, pray”
———–
A Moment’s Halt—a momentary taste
Of Being from the well amid the Waste
And Lo!—The phantom Caravan has reach’d
The Nothing it set out from—oh, make haste
———–
Some for the Glories of This World; and some
Sigh for the Prophet’s paradise to come;
Ah, take the cash, and let the Credit go,
Nor heed the fumble of a distant Drum!
———-
Alike for those who for to-day prepare,
And those that after some to-morrow stare,
A Muezzin from the Tower of darkness cries,
“Fools! Your reward is neither Here nor There.
———-
I think the Vessel, that the fugitive
Articulation answer’d, once did live,
And drink; and Ah! The passive Lip I kiss’d,
How many Kisses might it take and give!

 

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