It’s that time of the year again.
Spring is almost upon us. The gray winter chill slowly gives way to chirping birds, budding trees, and gurgling streams.
And the regime’s clerical ideologues pull their lightweight tan cloaks out of mothballs and begin their onslaught on ancient pre-Islamic Iranian traditions, foremost among them the chahar shanbeh souri fire festival and the now rouz new year celebration.
A certain brand of Islam has always frowned on now rouz, which corresponds to the the spring equinox and falls on March 20 this year, and its accompanying rites, from the haft sin spread (seven objects beginning with Sin or the letter S in the Iranian alphabet) fraught with symbolism, to sizdah bedar, the thirteenth day of the year when Iranians close the holiday season by leaving their homes, having picnics, throwing the sabzeh (green sprouts) they grew for the haft sin into a river, and young women tie knots in sabzeh for good luck in love.
For years Ayatollah Abolghassem Khazali, staunch supporter of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, has called for replacing now rouz with the Muslim festival of Ghadir as the Iranian new year celebration. ‘Now rouz is for the trees,’ Khazali, obviously in a poetic mood, said at Tehran Friday prayers last year. ‘What honors they bestow on now rouz! Do they respect Eid Ghadir a quarter as much?’ Ghadir is the pla… >>>