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Purple Noruz
With my pretty ruffled Noruz dress and new bike I was beaming with pride

By xAle
March 15, 2002
The Iranian

We started getting ready for Noruz long before it was time to clean the house. A trip to bazzaazi to select the best fabrics for our Noruz wardrobe was a lot of fun. The whole family would be along to choose a fabric for their new outfit and my mom would select the rest for our spring and summer outfits.

We would argue with her about the colors and patterns and she would always win by saying that this or that fabric was too hard to cut, or it would bleed when washed. She made all of our outfits at home and with five kids she had to start early, which meant we had to wait a long time before we could wear our new clothes.

Like the rest of the neighborhood children, right after saal tahvil and after we had collected our eidi, we would run out of the house to show off our new shoes and clothes. I still remember vividly the colorful display of happy and shiny faces decked in array of bright colors doting the neighborhood and comparing shoes and dresses!!

As I got older, I was too embarrassed to wear new clothes on the first day of the year and would look for excuses to show off my clothes before hand so that I could tell my friends that what I was wearing was not new! Also I would not brag about my eidi the same way any more.

Apart from gold coins, which my mom would promptly take away from us, my father always gave us some toys for Noruz as well. When I was six, my Noruz gift was a brand new purple bike -- for girls. It was ordered for an English girl whose father worked in the oil industry in Ahvaz and the family had returned to England before the bike arrived. I used to play with her before she moved and I always envied her unusual toys.

My dad had purchased the bike from the English gentleman for me a few months before Noruz and it sat in the corner of the living room for a while. It was boxed, and whenever we asked my dad about it, he did not give an answer and forbade us to touch it.

Imagine my surprise to receive a new purple bike without a middle bar for Noruz. I could not wait to get out of the house and show off! With my pretty ruffled Noruz dress and new bike, I was beaming with pride. My younger brother kept telling me the bike was his and I kept repeating, "You see? No middle bar."

The first few days, other children came by to see my bike and I walked around holding my head high and promising them a turn when they knew how to ride it!

My dad taught my brother and I how to ride it. And being a girls' bike did not stop the neighborhood boys or my brother from riding it all the time. I can safely say the whole neighborhood got into bikes after that. As the years went by, everyone had a bike, chasing and playing games.

Years later, I made sure my daughters' first bike was a purple one!


xAle (pronounced khaa-leh, maternal aunt in Persian) is an old timer who grew up in Iran when words such as miraab, maayeh khamir, aab-anbaar and haavan were part of daily life. Through stories and remembrances of old days, she will be sharing with us part of our past.

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