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Poetry

Persian style Christmas

December 23, 2003
The Iranian

It's "the night before Christmas, and all through the house"
we rush our last minute gift wraps, my kids, me, and my spouse

pomegranates hang on the tree, a "termeh" on its stand
the smell of fresh pine enhances my burning "esfand"

Santa's not coming, our kids are older, they know
they don't leave him cookies, nor expect his "ho, ho, ho"

They have learned by now, reindeer's not a Persian thing
(Amoo Norooz never flies, over the desert in spring)

I stuff raisins and nuts in their hanging gym socks
"You call that a stocking?!" my youngest of the three mocks.

We try to keep tradition, though Christians we're not
for their share of holiday, we give them what we've got

Shopping in December, is not unlike the zoo,
but we do-while in Rome-just as Romans do

It helps us to belong, we're happy doing this
afraid that if we didn't, a whole lot our kids miss

That's how Persians deal with Christmas--or any other feast
shopping, eating, and presents? Favorites of  Middle East!

You give us any reason, we'll jump to celebrate
we like all the holidays, we love to imitate

Nothing to do with faith or race or who we are
must be in human genes, to shop at Christmas bazzar

Try hard as we may, to celebrate our own
accustomed to this holiday our young ones have grown

So I roast pistachio nuts on open fire with spice
and take out my recipe for turkey on basmati rice

Baghlava I make, not rum drops or ginger bread
when they ask for eggnog, they get "doogh" instead

The more our kids grow, the less they want this
a Persian style Christmas, someday they may miss

Who knows if in time, appreciate they might?
as for now, Merry Christmas,  "and to all a good night."

About

Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani is a retired dentist and a freelance writer. She lives in San Diego, California. Top

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