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Nowruz E-mail

By Tahir Kabuli

The word Nowruz consists of two separate words, Now meaning new and ruz meaning day. The Nowruz literally means the New Day. It refers to the festival that celebrates the advent of the new season of spring or the new year. It has been celebrated in Khorasan since ancient times. Although, deeply rooted in pre-Zoroastrian traditions of Aryans, the Nowruz celebration is commonly believed to be attached to Zoroastrian faith.

According to archaeological facts, the territory to the south of Oxus River was dwelled by large group of people for at least five thousand years. These people are known to be the first settlers who formed communities and established the world's oldest city, the city of Balkh. They lived in fortified walled city with booming social life, customs and traditions. Their primary occupation was agriculture and raising cattle. This specific region has a very distinct four seasons. Spring, summer, fall and winter. The spring, after a harsh three months of winter, was a welcome sign and a period of becoming active in agriculture and other aspect of life. Therefore, our forefathers were celebrating the advent of Spring as a symbol of rebirth and relieve from harshness of winter.

The coming of Zoroaster added new dimensions to this already old tradition. According to religious sources, Zoroaster was born in spring when snow thawed, rains came, waters flowed, trees blossomed and plants grew. So the ancient Nowruz tradition also coincides with the birth of our great prophet. Zardusht or Zoroaster was a Tajik and the son of the same people who have been celebrating the new year for a long time. Zoroaster was born within the confined city of Balkh. His teaching, many historians believe, had direct or indirect influences on the development of three other religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Zoroaster was the founder of this great monotheistic religion of the ancient world that became famous after his name Zardushti or Zoroastrian.

 

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Persian Literature and its influence on Europe and America from 17th Century up to the present time E-mail
The late Professor Edward Browne believes that:

    the epic, lyric, didactic, mystic, satiric, or pessimist poets of Iran such as Firdowsi, Hafez, Sa’adi, Nasir-Khusrow, Attar, Jallal ad-Din Balkhi (Rumi); Ubayd-i-Zakani, and Omar Khayyam, each in his own different way appeals to some ground common to all mankind. And these are the ones that are known best, outside Iran. (Professor Ed Browne, Volume I)

He calls Iranians:

    the most ancient, gifted and original peoples of the world. (ibid.)

From among these the best-known in Europe are Firdowsi, Hafez, Sa’adi and Omar Khayyam. These great-men have inspired the world during the last three centuries and one notices their praise recurring time after time in various literatures of the world.

Out of the different European nations, if we take Germany, France and England into consideration, we notice that in each country one of these poets appealed more than the others. Hafez was appreciated more in Germany, Sa’adi in France and Omar Khayyam in England.

This does not mean that the others were completely ignored but it only shows the national preference in each case. The first country who began to study the Iranian literature and appreciate it were the Germans. The German scholars were in touch with Persian literature and poetry through the translation of Sa’adi’s Gulistan and Bustan made by the traveler and scholar Adam Olearius (1671 A.D.).
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