Playing With Fire

Yesterday we celebrated Nowruz, Persian New Year. My wife is from Iran, she moved here when she was nine and most of her family still lives in Iran, so we try to hold on to Persian traditions and culture and instill a respect in our children for their Iranian heritage. I wish I spoke some farsi, but my vocabulary is pretty much limited to telling someone they stink, or that they are being rude, or that they are gross, or that they need to be quiet. Seriously, I am trying to pick it up and I am using this site for some basic conversation lessons. My wife tried teaching the kids farsi, but with only one parent speaking a foreign language, it becomes too convenient to slip back into English. Now the kids know farsi as mom's angry language, but in a good way.

One tradition that we all love is Nowruz. It just makes sense to me that New Years is celebrated on the first day of Spring, the vernal equinox. A few weeks before Nowruz, my wife starts growing sprouts and gets the Haft Sin ready (this is a traditional table decoration with seven things that start with the letter 's'). The haft sin stems from Zoroastrian tradition, and everything on the table symbolizes something. The sprouts symbolize rebirth, sumac for beauty and the color of sunset, vinegar for age and wisdom, painted eggs for fertility, dried oleander fruit for love, garlic for health, and apples for beauty (thank you Wikipedia).

We also break out a couple of fire logs for the pyromaniac training Chaharshanbe Suri (the fire festival) on the Wednesday before Nowruz. This is a favorite for the kids because they get to jump over fire (it's supposed to be a bonfire, but we make do with Duraflame). This is a purification ritual where, as my son explained to me, you give all of your fear and sadness to the fire and once you jump over it you are happy for the new year. Another favorite for the kids is that we all eat Iranian sweets at the moment of the vernal equinox, in order to start the year with a sweet taste in your mouth.

Haft Sin

I started the new year with a great run on one of my favorite trails with some of my favorite people. I mentioned in a previous post about a virtual race to raise money and awareness for cystic fibrosis, and was so grateful for the people who responded to that request and joined me on Sunday for a trail run. Some came out to Elfin Forest and ran and hiked on a cloudy Sunday morning, and some ran on their own. I want to thank everyone who donated to the cause, people who I don't even know who might have read the blog and decided to give a little, people I haven't seen since high school, neighbors, friends, thank you.

I also started the new year with an email to Tim, letting him know that I am ready to get back to work, that there are 19 weeks until the Canadian Death Race, and right now that number seems really small. Time for some hurt. Happy new year.

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