Sunday, March 29, 2009

Persian Spring at City Hall

The half-Iranian San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi (above right) held a party on Friday evening celebrating Norouz (one of many spellings), which has been a combination of New Year's and Easter in the Iranian world for centuries before Christ, dating from the prophet Zoroaster.

The holiday actually makes quite a bit more scheduling sense than Easter in that it starts every year at the exact moment of the vernal equinox heralding the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

For the twelve days afterward, everyone is supposed to visit each other's homes...

...with family first and then expanding to neighbors and friends.

According to a Wikipedia article, "One of the traditions associated with the holiday is "Haft Sīn" (هفت سین) or the seven 'S's. The haft sin table includes seven specific items starting with the letter 'S' or Sīn (س) in the Persian alphabet. The items symbolically correspond to seven creations and holy immortals protecting them. The Haft Sin has evolved over time, but has kept its symbolism."

"Traditionally, families attempt to set as beautiful a Haft Sīn table as they can, as it is not only of traditional and spiritual value, but also noticed by visitors during Nowruzi visitations and is a reflection of their good taste."

The Haft Sin table was set up in a conference room on the second floor, which had bumped the "Crystal Meth Task Force" from their meeting. Maybe the latter were celebrating Sizdah Bedar, a day of festivity in the open, often accompanied by music and dancing, usually at family picnics.

"Sizdah bedar celebrations stem from the ancient Persians' belief that the twelve constellations in the Zodiac controlled the months of the year, and each ruled the earth for a thousand years at the end of which the sky and earth collapsed in chaos. Hence Nowruz lasts twelve days and the thirteenth day represents the time of chaos when families put order aside and avoid the bad luck associated with the number thirteen by going outdoors and having picnics and parties."


Joe Lynn said...

Your photos capture that table very nicely. I can't wait to see Luke's. Sorry we missed.

Civic Center said...

Dear Joe: Sorry we missed each other also. I was a bit late as you can see by the very empty plates on the pretty table.