I can see how those of you who have read my reaction to Christmas and Valentine's Day may think I hate holidays. Nothing could be further from the truth. I love holidays. I just don't like the crazy commercial/Hallmark aspect of the holidays.
But now, there is a holiday looming that I love, despite myself: Nu Rooz, or the Persian New Year. It coincides with the first day of Spring and we celebrate for 13 days. We specifically celebrate the outgoing year (the last Wednesday of the old year), the first day of the New Year and the thirteenth day of the New Year with a picnic. In Iran, it is the most beautiful time of the year. Everything is coming back to life, the city smells young and fresh and every home is sparkling from the monthly spring cleaning efforts of every woman in the country (with much help from the small armies they call up just for the season). People of every economic and religious background celebrate by visiting each other, traveling and of course cooking and eating. We prepare traditional dishes, wear new clothes and spend days gleefully celebrating family, friends and life. And there are occasional gift exchanges, usually crisp new bills from grandparents that most kids would hide in their rooms.
In my family growing up, this time has unfortunately been spent stressing about everything being picture perfect. So much so that the 'celebration' kind of falls to the wayside. Despite this, I remain optimistic and still love the concept.
This year, I have not started my spring cleaning. I have not prepared my traditional sprouts, nor have I purchased my hyacinths yet. I'm running a bit behind. But I'm still excited.