I just received a beautiful card invite from New York Mayor’s Office to a “Nowruz” breakfast celebration at 8:00 AM March 25 at the majestic Gracie Mansion overlooking the East River. This odd Nowruz spelling is also used by the White House Haft Sin Press Release.
Luckily, the Deputy Commissioner for NY Mayor’s Immigration used to be an Iranian. Now the Community Affairs Deputy Commissioner is an Iranian lady. Move over Bushs and Obamas, at this rate, within a few decades, the U.S. President, could well be a Darius Irani a la Google Omid Kordestani! In previous 3 years, the ‘Nowruz’ celeb used to be in the evening. Now, it seems a shrinking budget has reduced the fest to bagels to whoever is daft enough to be up for a Norooz fest that ungodly early hour!
In English, there is only one standard way of saying Happy New Year. In French, Bonne Annee, etc Why should Farsi-speaking Iranians have so many spellings?
OK, I know Iranians are individualistic and relish variety. But could most of us agree on a standard phrase and spelling of the whole greeting and then say it however we like?
Should Farsi-speaking Iranians use one standard spelling and one greeting? Already, in the popular video, “Babak & Friend – A First Norooz”, the spelling is Norooz and the film’s production company is Norooz Productions. There is also the well-established 7Rooz.com- a great calendar of Persian and Iranian events.
How about adopting Norooz of Babek and 7Rooz? I noticed this is also used in Lale’ Welsh’s Beyond Persia recent greeting:
‘Norooz Pirooz va har rooz Norooz!’
Jazne Norooz Pirooz? And perhaps, Sale No Pirooz? Do you agree? Then we can all use and propagate this standard spelling, at least for Iranians in the future? (Afghanis seem to prefer Nowrooz- that is fine. It is similar to different spellings of Bonne Annee by the French, Italian, Spanish, etc.)
In addition to the ten millions Kurds of Iran, about 30 more million Kurds, divided and dominated by Turkey, Iraq and Syria, also passionately celebrate Newroz.
Newroz has its roots in pre-Islam Zoroastrian religion whose prophet and temples were born in the mountains of Kurdistan.In addition to its celebratory and human values, Kurds, repressed for decades by Arabs and Turks, celebrate Newroz with extra fervor, with fires and exuberant music and dancing in colorful costumes, as a national symbol against racist oppressors. (Newroz was banned until recently in Turkey. It is still not an official holiday in Turkey or Syria. Nor was it official for most of Iraq’s history. How racist is that? (Note 2 at bottom.)
Years ago, Kurds from each part of Kurdistan in Diaspora also used different spellings for Newroz. Then I circulated a piece in which I reasoned that Norooz comes from two pure Persian and Kurdish words: No or Nu meaning New; and Rooz or Roz, meaning Sun or Day. (Just as our Brader and Dokhtor became Brother and Daughter, so No or Nu became English New and French Nouveau, and Latin Nu,…etc..)
So why not standardize on the simple spelling in English to Newroz, meaning NewSun, NewDay. (Note 1 at bottom.) I also reminded Persian and Kurdish friends since our precious Newroz is at least over 3000 years old, we should abandon Arabic and Islamic words of Ed and Mobarak (It is high time that we replaced most, if not all Persian and Kurdish corruptions of Arabic and Turkish words with pure Iranian words.
Sure, some foreign words can be enriching to any language. But about 50% of Arabic mixing in due to ‘politically-correct’ Islam invasion, it becomes a corruption!) Instead, why not use our lovely, ancient, musical greeting of Piroz?
Now from Kermanshah to Sidney to Stockholm to London to San Diego , all Kurds simply say: Jazne Newroz Piroz. Note how the Roz and Piroz rhyme and dance with each other. If some wish to use the literal Year then the Persian and Kurdish word for Year is Sal as in the Kurdish Newroz song, “Am Rozy Sale taza (nu or new) Newroz Hata Wa; Jazne Kee Kony Korda Ba Khosy o Hatawa.)
1. NewRoz in Persian and Kurdish means both ‘New Sun’ and ‘New Day’, the rebirth of spring on the equinox, usually on or about March 21. Newroz is the pre-biblical New Year revered and celebrated by Zoroastrians, the ancient peoples of Kurdistan, and the Persian speaking peoples of Iran, Mesopotamia, Afghanistan, and eastern states of ex-Soviet Union, and parts of India and Kashmir.
Newroz symbolizes freedom from tyranny, the triumph of light over darkness. It predates all New Year and Religious festivals in the Middle East and Europe. A new year/new spring celebration is mentioned as early as 3000 years B.C. in the Mesopotamian myths of King Gilgamesh era. More at The Legend of NEWROZ.