Sunday, March 22, 2009
Andy and I were invited to celebrate Norooz with the Iranian-Canadian seniors' group at the rec centre where I work. This group has been meeting for almost a year, and they have been planning this celebration for most of that time. It's the Persian New Year, celebrated in a thirteen day festival, beginning on the eve of the first day of Spring. Saturday night's celebration was a wonderful banquet, with music and dancing. Andy and I attended along with the President of the seniors' society, and were treated as honoured guests. We learned about Iranian culture and customs, and met some of the families who came to share the occasion with the grandmas and grandpas who attend our centre.
Our hosts were gracious in introducing us to their customs and explaining things. One of the grandmas told me about a favourite Iranian recording artist who was forced to leave the country after the revolution, due to her political views. She found it impossible to live outside of her country, became depressed, and died a few years later, and much too young, of an overdose of medication. The same grandma told me that she had visited Iran twice since coming to Canada 22 years ago. She has raised her daughters here and is glad that she left. She told me that many others would like to leave but they can't. This theme of loving country and culture but choosing a better life for their families was repeated in several of our conversations throughout the evening.
The supper was delicious - lamb, rice and salad and a dozen different little sweets for dessert, along with ice cream and entreaties to eat more: "Please repeat Dear Sue McIntyre!"
Most delicious of all was the spirited dancing to live music and singing. Everyone got up and danced to the music of the various ethnic groups within Iran. I had to hold my breath watching some of the grandpas go! One man, who had to be 60 at least was jumping and shaking and doing somersaults. He did not sit down at all in over two hours of dancing time!
It was a delightful evening - such wonderful fun and gracious hosts, and the warm and happy spirit of our Iranian friends.
For information about Norooz, here's a link.
question: when does your new year begin?
mompoet - Norooz Mobaarak