Acknowledging the Value of Iranian Customs

In June of 1981, just 2 and one-half years after the release of the hostages in Iran, a woman who had been to Iran in December of 1978 spoke about one of the Iranian customs that she had most appreciated. That had been the Iranian habit of showing great hospitality towards any guest. That Iranian custom stood-out in the mind of that one-time visitor, even though she had been in the country during a most tumultuous period.
In November of 2006, two Iranian Americans living in Los Angeles County had a chance to offer their thoughts on Noruz, the Iranian New Year. They were asked to name the Iranian customs that they felt to be most important during the celebration of that holiday. Those two men came to an agreement on the importance of one particular custom.

During the more than 25 centuries that people in the land once known as Persia have been celebrating their New Year, they have created a number of special Iranian customs. Older Iranians appear to be especially proud of one such custom. The Iranian American gentlemen in L.A. County pointed to the customary monetary gift from the older Iranians to the younger family members.

Like so many Iranian customs, that act of giving money has not been judged just by the amount given, but by the unique manner in which the gift has been made. One Iranian American in L.A. County makes a point of giving younger family members a $2 bill. While one can not purchase a great deal with a $2 bill, the recipient of such a gift can appreciate the time taken by the giver, in order to obtain that rarely-seen bill.

That same gentleman enjoys having a number of younger relatives to whom he can give a $2 bill. He did not always have a chance to participate in what he sees as one of the more important Iranian customs. When he first came to this country, he found it difficult to do without the traditional trappings of Noruz.

He now makes a habit of seeing that his home has the seven necessary objects for the start of the New Year. He makes a point of putting together a table that contains 7 objects, each of which starts with the letter “s” in the Persian language. His desire to have such a table indicates that it too is one of the important Iranian customs.

Because of the age of such customs, it is difficult to learn the basis for all of them. Research into the Iranian New Year will reveal that the Persian kings received trays of gifts at their palace on the first day of the Iranian New Year. Now many Iranians make a point of lighting candles on that day. According to another of the Iranian customs, those candles should be placed on the table mentioned above.

An introduction to some Iranian customs can leave a person a bit confused. The time for the lighting of the New Year candles is one example of that fact. The time varies from year to year. Only by happenstance did this writer discover the reason for that changing time.

One March her husband informed her that the Noruz candles would be lit at 8 pm. The following day, she heard the friend of a co-worker mention that spring had arrived at 8 pm the previous evening. This writer then realized that the Iranian New Year had its inauguration at whatever hour the sun passed over the equator, making its journey north towards the Tropic of Cancer.

That is one of the Iranian customs that does not appear in danger of disappearing. In fact, perhaps the world could become more united by celebrating the Iranian New Year. Everyone would celebrate at the same time.
This artilce has been viewed: 0 times this month, and 24 times in total since published.