Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring Equinox ... and Happy Nowruz!

Today for the Spring Equinox (New Year's Day to some on the Indian subcontinent -- but mostly Iran) I made some goals in these specific categories: Health, Family, Creativity, Children, Relationships, Travel, Knowledge, Business, and Wealth. 

If I'd thought about it in advance, I would've gotten some chalk and made myself a rangoli on my front walk/porch for the holiday.

from http://mydaughtersdreams.blogspot.com/2011/04/rangoli-r-in-a2z-blogging-challenge.html

But instead, the goals. So here they are.


(Water) I recently "acquired" my friend's water bottle (a skinny glass one that I really like) and I'm determined to drink at least two bottles of water a day -- preferably three. 

(Sleep) I REALLY want to get more sleep. I look old when I don't get enough. Plus, my annoying dogs get me up more than once in the middle of the night to pee every night, so my sleep is interrupted. All the more reason to get to bed earlier. I want to be in bed by 10:30pm, asleep by 11pm.

(Food) Some day I'll buy Nourishing Traditions and start cooking on the weekends, and eating more healthy, whole foods. That's *really* my ambition. BUT, knowing myself, and my struggle with balance in life -- I simply want to eat lunch every day. If I can manage that I think I'll be on my way to a healthier me.


I will once again, and despite some one-sidedness, focus on connection with far-away family. Specifically in these two areas: sending photographs of my children to our East Coast Family in Massachusetts, and sending cards or short letters to my mom and sister in Minnesota.


(Photography) Field trip walks! :) I am totally in love with this idea. I want to go on walks and just take my camera. I'll photograph abstract, beauty, strangeness, doorways, patterns, geometry, people -- whatever calls to me.

(Dance) Attend my "dance church" every Sunday and keep up the dialogue with my body.

(Writing) Journaling/Morning Pages, Start writing my next book, Revise (again) my memoir.


Basically I want to help my kids be who they want to be. In the coming year I will specifically put energy in these areas: obtaining playdates and sleepovers for Robert, and secure a high school for Aubrey.


Be open to possibilities, Be open to companionship, Have courage in love, and always, always, always operate with full authenticity.


Continue saving money in my "India jar" -- planning a trip for Summer 2013.
Take kids to their annual Massachusetts trip.
Make another New Jersey trip in September? It'll be somebody's birthday.


Learn conversational Urdu/Hindi.


Pitch my book to agents at the Willamette Writers Conference in August, build editing clientele, build massage clientele, build relationships/network/platform in the blogging realm, promote my book (whether it ends up being self-published or traditionally published).


Stick to my bloody budget! Jesus! For f&ck's sake! 
Save money for travel. It's important.

*So there you have it. My goals for the year. I'm going to write them up on pretty paper and post it in my bedroom. I'll see it all the time. Accountability time, baby!

Now let's see you do it.
But first.
Scan this uber-interesting bit on Nowruz from Wikipedia. It's a Iranian holiday with roots in Zoroastrianism. It's pretty much just the Parsis and Zoroastrians that celebrate it in India.

Nowruz in India

Commemorated in a grand and elaborate fashion, preparations for Jamshed Navroz begin well in advance. Houses are cleaned to remove all the cobwebs and painted new. They are then adorned with different auspicious symbols, namely, stars, butterflies, birds and fish. New attires are ordered and made especially for the festival. On the day of Jamshed Navroz, people dress in their new and best clothes and put on gold and silver kustis and caps. The doors and windows are beautified with garlands of roses and jasmines. Color powders are used for creating beautiful and attractive patterns, known as rangoli, on the steps and thresholds. These intricate and creative patterns display the sanctity of the festivals. Moreover, fish and floral motifs are a favorite among rangolis and considered highly auspicious.
Guests are welcomed by sprinkling rose water and rice, followed by applying a tilak. Breakfast usually consists of Sev (a vermicelli preparation roasted in ghee and choc-a-bloc with dry fruits) which is served with yogurt and enjoyed by young and old alike. After breakfast, it is time to visit the Agiary or Fire Temple to offer prayers. Special thanksgiving prayers, known as Jashan, are held and sandalwood is offered to the Holy Fire. At the end of this religious ceremony, all Parsis take the privilege to exchange new greetings with one another by saying ‘Sal Mubarak’. Back home, special delicacies are made marking the lunch as an elaborate and delicious affair.
Various Parsi dishes, such as Sali boti (a mutton and potato preparation), chicken farchas, patrani machchi (fish steamed in a leaf), mutton pulao and dal, kid gosh and sasni machchi (a thick white gravy with pomfret) jostle for space on the table. However, the most significant dish that forms an integral part of Jamshed Navroz celebrations is pulav (rice enriched with nuts and saffron). Besides, plain rice and moong dal are a must on this day. Desserts too are not behind in terms of variety, the most important being falooda. It is a sweet milk drink made form vermicelli and flavored with rose essence. Lagan-nu-custard, or caramel custard, is another favorite on this occasion. The entire day is spent by visiting friends and relative and exchanging good wishes and blessings.

Rituals of the Nowruz festival

The people begin with cleaning their homes as a general custom of Nowruz, known as ‘spring clean’. This is observed days before the festival. The Parsis clean every part of their house, dust furniture and wash carpets. This is practiced to welcome the new spring season with freshness. The Parsis also believe that the soul of the departed family members would visit the homes of their loved ones on Nowruz Eve.
The number seven has been regarded magical and significant for the Zoroastrians. The number seven symbolizes the seven elements of life, namely, fire, earth, water, air, plants, animals and humans. The traditional table setting of Jamshed Navroz includes seven specific items beginning with the letter ‘S’, known as Haft Sin, that signify life, health, wealth, abundance, love, patience and purity. These items are also known to have astrological correlations to planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, and Sun and Moon.
The Haft Sin items are sabzeh (wheat or lentil sprouts representing rebirth), samanu (creamy pudding made from wheat germ regarded as holy and symbolizes affluence), seeb (apple symbolizing health and beauty), senjid (dried fruit of lotus tree stands for love), sir (garlic regarded as medicinal and represents health), somagh (sumac berries signifying the color of the sun and the victory of good over evil) and serkeh (vinegar representing old age and patience). Apart from these foods, there are other items that are placed on the traditional table.
These items include sonbol (hyacinth plant), sekkeh (coins representing wealth), aajeel (dried nuts, berries and raisins), lit candles (enlightenment and happiness), a mirror (cleanness and honesty), decorated eggs (fertility), traditional Iranian pastries like baghlava, toot and naan-nokhodchi, a bowl of water with goldfish (very essential for the Nowruz table), rosewater (magical cleansing powers), national colors (for a patriotic touch) and a holy book (the Avesta, Qur’an, Bible, Torah or Kitáb-i-Aqdas) and/or a poetry book (either the Shahnama or the Divan of Hafiz).
At the strike of the clock indicating New Year, the Parsis wear their clean and new dresses and gather around the Nowruz table and Haft Sin. Prayers are offered for health, happiness and prosperity. Next, the family members hug and kiss each other as part of the New Year greetings. The delicacies prepared for the occasion are served and consumed. The oldest member of the family then takes the lead and presents the Eidi (New Year’s gift) to the younger members present.

an altar for Nowruz from 2009


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OrangeJammies said...

Happy Naurooz! I celebrate. :-)

Valerie Willman said...

Thanks, Orange Jammies. :)
Where do you live in the world?