12/24/2007

Merry Christmas

Christmas Lights in Berkeley
Some people believe as Iranians and born Moslems, Christmas is not a celebration for us. I have known Iranian parents who tell their kids "We are not Christian, so we don't celebrate Christmas." I have even known of people who in that same vein, tell their very young children that there is no Santa Claus. That all seems so unnecessarily cruel to me, more so to the children, but also to the adults who think that way. I think in addition to Iranian customs and celebrations which are very important to our identity, there is no harm in taking other opportunities to celebrate. Especially those occasions which enable us to be a part of the community and nation which we now call our home.
I fell in love with Christmas the first year I came to US as astudent almost three decades ago. I loved the lights, the colors, the presents, and the good spirit people had around Christmas. Though even then I was aware that this is a Christian holiday in origin, I never felt excluded from the celebrations by virtue of my religion or nationality. Much talk goes around about how commercial Christmas has become. It doesn't feel commercial to me, as I celebrate it for the joy and happiness it brings me and my family.
When we moved to Tehran in 1992, finding a Christmas tree and a turkey became a fairly complicated annual task. In Tehran these days, you can find perfect Christmas trees and huge turkeys to celebrate Christmas. In the early 1990's however, I wasn't so lucky, so I had to do with what I could find.While we could find Christmas trees in the Armenian neighborhoods of Tehran, because Greek Orthodox Armenians celebrate Christmas a little later on January 1st, finding a tree a few weeks before December 25th wasn't always very easy. Some years I could find perfect trees, and some years I would find less than perfect ones which might be crooked or bald, threating to topple over (and topple they did a few times!).
The turkeys from those first years in Tehran were also a memorable story. That first year in Tehran, when I asked a relative to help me find a turkey for our Christmas dinner, he delivered a live turkey to my door! The next year, the same relative who had had to put up with my complaints for a whole year, delivered a turkey that had been shot in a hunt. The next year life did not improve that much, as the turkey I received, though not alive nor shot, had all its feathers on it intact, and I had to be the one to clean it before cooking it! Until you have had to do the deed, you won't know what a gruesome task this is!
In later years, turkey farms were developed and I could get a decent turkey in most butcher shops. My family would celebrate Christmas with tens of other friends and relatives each year. Santa would come, too, but would only deliver "surprise" small gifts, seldom things on a wish list.
I live in these parts again. My children are grown and have now come to appreciate Christmas for the chance to be with family. Three decades on, I still don't believe Christmas is an "overly commercial" event, or a "stressful time of year," as many suggest. I think it is a time to come together, celebrate, visit with family and friends, and contemplate peace. For me it continues to be a time to be happy and festive regardless of our religeous beliefs. No matter what our spiritual beliefs, we all know and appreciate and need peace, now more than ever. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and invite you all to join me in praying for, or wishing for, peace on earth. Merry Christmas To All!

27 comments:

بانوي جشنواره زمستان said...

روزهاي نور و شادي و چراغ و مهماني مبارک

نیلوفر said...

Happy holiday nazy jan :-)

masoud said...

سلام نازی خانم
همه ادیان نزد خدا یکیست
مولوی چه زیبا گفته:
نام احمد نام جمله انبیاست
چونکه صد آمد نود هم پیش ماست
در قرآن آمده است که فرشتگان به مریم مژده می دهند که خدا او را به کلمه ای از خودش بنام مسیح بشارت داده است که:"وجیهآ فی الدنیا و الاخره" و این مختص مسیح آمده که آبرومند در دنیا و آخرت باشد.
سلام بر او باد که خودش فرمود
درود بر من روزیکه زاده شدم و روزی که می میرم و روزی که زنده برانگیخته می شوم

Shahrzad said...

Merry Christmas!

يكي مثه همه said...

Dear Nazy jan
I do pray always for peace and happiness for everyone but I wish also that those who pray for peace become more than those who never think of it.
I think its not fair to endure a world full of confliction and selfishness while you believe in peace and serenity.
Best Wishes
Halat

يكي مثه همه said...

zemnan yadam raft begam:
Merry Merry Christmas
and happy holiday
Booos

Marzieh said...

نازی عزیز سلام
خوشحالم که در حال شپری کردن تعطیلات خوبی هستی.
روح بزرگ پدر و مادرتون شاد باشه.
من موافقم با صحبت هات در باره کریسمس هر چند که همسرم به هیچ عنوان همراه من نیست دراین امر... ولی من قلبا شادم و از این همه نور و شادی و مهربانی عمیقا به وجد میام.دلم برای همه کسانی که به هر عنوان خودشون رو از این شادی
دور نگه میدارند میسوزه.

خوشبختی را خدا رایگان به ما ارزانی کرده.
کریسمس مبارکککککککککککک

life said...

Merry Christmass and Happy New Year.

ا. ش said...

سال نو شما مبارک باشد نازی عزیز. برای شما در کنار دو فرزند دلبندت و همه ی عزیزانی که در کنار خود داری روزهایی بسیار شاد و پرثمر ارزو دارم. دلی که پرمهر است جهان و هر آن چه در آن هست نیز فراگستر و یکپارچه می بیند، فارغ از همه ی کیش ها و پیشه ها. دلت شاد و روانت پرنشاط باد!ء

nima said...

merry christmas...wish you luck

jeerjeerak said...

merry christmas nazy joonam. right, there is no reason one should deprive himself of a happy and peaceful celebration:)
and i laughed picturing the live turkey at your door!

احسان said...

Merry Christmas and happy holidays Nazy jan.

Assal said...

mERRY cHRISTMAS nAZY jOONAM:

When I was still very young, a little Grinch told me that there was no Santa Claus and that he was my father.. This angered me and probably I think I cried.

Then, as I grew a little older and watched the changes that came with Christmas: the colorful lights, the smell of eggnog and cinnamon, the merry way strangers smiled as they passed you by while Christmas shopping...

I realized that whether or not Santa exists, doesn't matter. If you believe in Christmas alone and the joy it can bring you, the world will make itself a merrier place for you, even if only for the holiday season.

bijan said...

Greetings. Cute story about the turkys. Yes, I've seen a couple of times how much work it is to clean and remove the feathers. MX;)

Nazy said...

Merci Nedaye Azizam. I know Tehran looks really beautiful this time of the year, too. Christmas trees and lights and decorated store windows. Enjoy it in my place, too, Neda Jan.

Nazy said...

Thank you Niloofar Jan:

And the same to you. I hope you have a relaxing holiday season and that 2008 will be a fantastic year for you, full of joy and accomplishment and love.

Nazy said...

Thank you Masoud Jan:

Thank you very much for your kind comment. I agree with you. The important thing is to have beliefs which would lead us in the way of honesty, kindness, and compassion for human race. All religions and beliefs seem to converge on those subjects. Have a good day.

Nazy said...

Shahrzad Jan:

Thank you so much for coming back. And a Very Merry Christmas to you and your family, too. Whereabouts are you? Tell us something about yourself, if you like. Take care.

Nazy said...

Salam Halat Jan:

I believe that those who feel and understand more are truly special, in that God has given them the gift of feeling and understanding to add joy to their lives. The same people wo feel and understand more also suffer more.

Merry Christmas to you, too, my friend. I hope your wishes come true in the coming year.

Nazy said...

Marzieh Jan:

Thank you for your kind words about my parents. I'm glad you enjoy Christmas. Do you know that English expression which says: "When in Rome, do as Romans do?" I don't see any harm in joining the good spirits and celebrations of the season.

For years, every Nowrooz I would take my sabzeh, mahi, sonbol, and shirini to my children's daycares and schools, showing their teachers and their classmates how we celebrate Nowrooz. I would play Iranian music for them and teach them some Iranian dance steps, too! My children know how to celebrate several occasions now, the most important one of which is still Nowrooz in our household, but a close second is Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family, Marzieh Jan.

Nazy said...

Salam Bar Life!

Welcome to my blog and thank you for your kind wishes. Merry Christmas to you, too. Please come back soon.

Nazy said...

Dear Alef Shin:

How honored I am to have you back here! Thank you for your warm and kind wishes.

One of my nieces has a serious blood condition which has really depressed and worried our family for the last year. My brother and his wife must have aged years in one year, while looking for ways of dealing with a virus that reduces my niece's white blood cell count.

I was thinking the other day, as I have many times over the past six years, that sometimes the best prayer we can have for ourselves, the best wish, is "to keep the things that we already have," as opposed to asking for new things. A family's children are the most important asset and source of hope and ambition for that family. A good prayer should be to ask God to keep those children safe and healthy. That is the prayer I have for everyone this year, after Peace on Earth.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, too, my good friend, Alef Shin.

Nazy said...

Nima Jan:

Thank you my friend. I loved that Shivan Foomani poem on your blog! It was beautiful, even though I don't know Gilaki and had to cheat and read your Farsi translation of it!

Merry Christmas to you, too, Nima Jan.

Nazy said...

Salam Jeerjeerak Jan:

Thank you for your as usual kind comment. After I left my comment for you on your blog last night, I laughed picturing a Christmas Eve flannel pajama party!

Those turkey stories were nightmares! Where there was a bullet hole inside the turkey's chest, I had to sew the skin to make sure all the juices wouldn't escape, leaving the bird dry. Plucking a turkey is so physically demanding and frustrating Jeer Jan! And the results were not satisfactory, either, until I started using tweezers! The live turkey was something else, as he made too much noise the night he was left in the yard, causing complaints by neighbors! And then none of us had the heart to slaughter it, so we had to ask the butcher to come do it, except, unlike lambs (goosfand-e-zendeh!), there is nothing for the butcher to take when he slaughters a turkey! We needed all of that turkey, so he charged us a lot of money for his time and "expertise" instead!

Merry Christmas to you sweet Jeerjeerak. Take care my friend.

Nazy said...

Ehsan Jan:

It was a pleasure talking to you and Maryam (Mah-e-Taban!). Merry Christmas to you, too. I hope to be able to see you this week. Take care.

Nazy said...

Salam Assal Jan:

Merry Christmas my friend! I hope you have had a relaxing day, surrounded by the love of your family. You are right, happy occasions of life turn into happy memories and live in our hearts forever.

Forget about Grinches and Scrooges, as they will find something to do or say to kill your joy, for sure! I posted this same entry in my blog on Iranian.com today, and a reader by the name of "Grinch" left me a nasty comment! You should keep your wonderful spirit, and enjoy and celebrate this season with all your heart Assal Jan. See you soon.

Nazy said...

Salam Bijan Jan:

Thank you for commiserating with me on the "live turkey business!" I feel like I still want to talk about how hard and awful it was, hee hee!

Merry Christmas to you my friend. I hope you have a relaxing and pleasant holiday season. I will have to return to work tomorrow, as this is the busiest time of the year for my department. But I hope to return to the rest of my holidays on Thursday, where I can have another 4 days off! Take care.