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Quiz

March 21, 2006

I'm confused

Are Amoo Norooz and Haji Firooz one and the same or two separate characters?
They are different. Haji Firooz is the announcer of Norooz's arrivel while Amoo Norooz is more of a respected -- almost mythical -- character who gives the gifts of Norooz. Haji firooz is young, playful and clown-like. He dances, chants and plays his tamboreen and makes people happy. Amoo Norooz, on the other hand, is more of a wise historical presence who passes the old story of Norooz to the young, thus giving the occasion the respect it deserves. Also, Haji Firooz demands Aidee while Amoo Norooz is the giver.

Winner: Zohreh Ghahremani, Sad Afarin!
And a special thanks to Rend Ayar for this note:

Haji Firuz is a recent phenomenon derived from the real life of Iranians after Islam especially from the recent history of the past several centuries. In the past, some well to do families especially from southern part of Iran such as Shirz and Bushehr, who were engage in trading with east Africans, established outposts in places such as Zanzibar or what is known in Farsi as Zangebar. These people were involved in infamous slave trades as well.

Keep in mind that the nature of slave trade in Iran and America were different. In the case of North American slave trade, it came out of an economic incentive, i.e., free or cheap labor for places such as cotton fields of white farmers. In Iranian merchant cases, it was not a matter of financial importance but an item of luxury!. Native labor was dirt cheap and could have been secure from Iranian peasants. There was no massive expansion of agriculture or other economic activities.

The slaves were symbols of wealth and not easily to come by. A lord, could have had an army of cheap labor and "rai'yat" but they all would more or less look like him, meaning they all had Iranian facial features. That is sad but true that a black face would set them apart from the neighboring lord or khan or Haji. (another difference between American and Iranian black slaves, although irrelevant to this subject was their point of origin. Majority of American black slaves came from western shores such as today's Liberia, Ivory Coast and so forth whereas Iranian blacks came from eastern shores and that is why they were called "siya zangi").

These back slaves, were some time given names that was pssesive and/or racist in nature such as Tala, Yaghut, Almaas, and alike. They dressed differently as to be ditinguished from native servants. They would serve as cooks or servants and they were mostly illiterates. They would hardy get married to a non black (they should tell us some thing of our racist inner thoughts existing even today. If you don't agree, look around you and tell me how many Iranian who know that are married to a black person). In the rencent century or two, these black slaves, would travel with their "arbaabs" to Mecca, as their servant of course, and guess what, they also would become "Haji".

I remember my grand mother was telling stories about her black nanny. I vividly remember a kind black old woman when I was a kid with a funny accent who never got married. In today Iran, decedents of these black slaves still live in Southern Iran in places like Badar Abbas and have some amazing customes, music, and tradition. I like to refer those interested to a book I read long time ago on "people of Baad".

Amu Nowruz on the other hand, is a totally Iranian fictional character whom Naneh Sarmah is in love with ( a story that is quite interesting in its own right). Some equate Amu Nowruz with Santa Claus. It is fine, if we want to somehow make a desperate attempt to make Westerns to understand us but the fact is that Amu Nowrus is even older than tradition of Zardosht or Zoroaster.He is beyond region boundries. Iranian of Ancient time, would cherish nature and its symbols.

So rebirth of nature and come to life was sybolized in Fesitaval of Nowruz. How a days, he is the symbol of kindness (amu), long time believes (white hair), and presidency (coming every single year), and friendship (remember warm fire pit left behind when Naneh Sarmah wakes up after the new year and after Amu Nowruz comes and goes while she is asleep).

The person who wins the most number of daily quizes in a month will be awarded a book valued at up to $50 from Mage Publishers and their name will be enshrined in the Column of Champions! Second-place winner will receive the comic book "Rostam tales from the Shahnameh".

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