Sculpture of Ferdowsi in front of legends he created in Shahnameh
Sculpture of Ferdowsi in front of legends he created in Shahnameh

Abul-Qâsem Ferdowsi Tusi (or just Ferdowsi) is probably the greatest Persian poet of all time. His book, Shahnameh (The Book of Kings), is known as the book that keeps the Persian language alive. Ferdowsi is celebrated as one of the most influential figures of Persian literature and one of the greatest in the history of literature.

The writing of Shahnameh took 33 years. The Shahnameh is a monument of poetry and historiography, being mainly the poetical recast of what Ferdowsi, his contemporaries, and his predecessors regarded as the account of Iran’s ancient history.

Ferdowsi is one of the undisputed giants of Persian literature. After Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, a number of other works similar in nature surfaced over the centuries within the cultural sphere of the Persian language. Without exception, all such works were based in style and method on Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, but none of them could quite achieve the same degree of fame and popularity as Ferdowsi’s masterpiece.

Ferdowsi has a unique place in Persian history because of the strides he made in reviving and regenerating the Persian language and cultural traditions. His works are cited as a crucial component in the persistence of the Persian language, as those works allowed much of the tongue to remain codified and intact.

In this respect, Ferdowsi surpasses Nizami, Khayyám, Asadi Tusi and other seminal Persian literary figures in his impact on Persian culture and language. Many modern Iranians see him as the father of the modern Persian language.

Ferdowsi was buried in his own garden, burial in the cemetery of Tus having been forbidden by a local cleric. A Ghaznavid governor of Khorasan constructed a mausoleum over the grave and it became a revered site. The tomb, which had fallen into decay, was rebuilt between 1928 and 1934 by the Society for the National Heritage of Iran on the orders of Reza Shah, and has now become the equivalent of a national shrine.

Every year on Ordibehesht 25, people gather in the tomb and celebrate his legacy by reading Shahnameh and washing his grave stone.

I’ve reached the end of this great history

And all the land will talk of me:

I shall not die, these seeds I’ve sown will save

My name and reputation from the grave,

And men of sense and wisdom will proclaim

When I have gone, my praises and my fame.

One time I told a friend that I enjoy editing photos, and his response was “Oh yeah? Are you any good?” and I was stymied in the moment.

I just realized today why. Pretend instead of photo editing, I had said “I really enjoy going on walks” and then he had responded “Oh, are you a pretty skilled walker?” What? That doesn’t follow.

People go on walks to feel good, not to be good. Not everything is about improvement, or skill. If I wanted to be good at photo editing I’d have to worry about composition, color theory, texture, taking care of my tools, instead of just opening random program or using a random color pen that I find in one of my glasses on my desk.

I’m bored just listening that crap, let alone doing it. If I had to be good, I would quit. I edit photos because it takes me out of myself. The end result doesn’t even really matter.

I’m sure some of you relate. That’s why we get along.

Nowruz is the Persian new year which begins on the first day of spring and is the first day of Farvardin, the first month of the Iranian solar calendar. It is celebrated worldwide by various ethno-linguistic groups, and falls on or around March 21.

Nowruz has Iranian and Zoroastrian origins; however, it has been celebrated by diverse communities for over three thousand years in Western Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Basin, the Balkans, and South Asia.

We celebrate Nowruz by eating rice and fish, going to meet our elders, giving people gifts and presents, and throw parties. We also believe it is the day for forgiveness and we encourage each other to forgive and reconcile those we think have wronged us.

Part of Nowruz is Haft-sin. Haft-sin is an arrangement of seven symbolic items whose names start with the letter “س” pronounced as “seen” the 15th letter in the Persian alphabet; haft (هفت) is Persian for seven. The following are the primary items of Haft-sin, whose Persian names begin with the letter س in the Persian alphabet.

  1. Sabzeh (سبزه) – wheat, barley, mung bean, or lentil sprouts grown in a dish.
  2. Samanu (سمنو) – wheat germ sweet pudding.
  3. Senjed (سنجد) – Oleaster
  4. Serkeh (سرکه) – vinegar.
  5. Seeb (سیب) – apple.
  6. Seer (سیر) – garlic.
  7. Somāq (سماق) – sumac.

Coins (سکه sekke), hyacinth (سنبل sonbol), and clock (ساعت saat) are sometimes included too. Other symbolic items that are typically used to accompany Haft-sin include a mirror, candles, painted eggs, goldfish, and traditional Persian confections. A “book of wisdom” is also commonly included, which might be the Quran, the Bible, the Avesta, the Shahnameh, or the divān of Hafez.

In Iran, the Nowruz holidays last thirteen days. On the thirteenth day of the New Year, Iranians leave their houses to enjoy nature and picnic outdoors, as part of the Sizdah be-dar ceremony. Sizdah Bedar (Thirteen Outdoor) also known as Nature’s Day is held on the thirteenth day of Farvardin during which people spend time picnicking outdoors. It marks the end of the Nowruz holidays in Iran.

On that day, we celebrate the beautiful mother nature we have and encourage each other to take care of it. Also, “Lie of the Thirteenth” is the Iranian version of the prank-playing April Fools’ Day which is observed on the first or second day of April in Iran, on the day of Sizdah Bedar.

Nowruz is a nice holiday. It brings us joy and happiness and time to spend with family and friends. It’s one of the nicest holidays I know. Everybody is happy, everybody is joyful, everybody is friendly and everybody is just a human being, regardless of differences we have.

Happy Nowruz everybody. Wish you a great new year.

There’s an update to this post.

I decided to take some distance from social networks. I’m feeling that social networks are taking too much of our lives and make us more dependable on people’s acceptance. Social networks are generally running on numbers and I’m not OK with that.

Number of followers, following, date of registration, etc. are some stupid factors that are somehow important for many people and I’m very uncomfortable with this.

So I decided to take some distance from them and only use them once in a while, not everyday. To do so, I deleted the Tusky app from my phone, which I used to send toots to my Mastodon account, and I also deleted apps I had on my desktop computer.

Now, only way I can be active is to use the web-based application they have. I’m expecting that this makes me think less about social networks and make me less active on them.

This way I can focus on my blog and make it my personal and ultimate home on internet and web, which I believe is much better. I won’t delete my accounts as I think they are not inherently bad, but somehow can and may have bad effect on me.

I don’t celebrate the Gregorian new year as I was born in a Persian country with Persian celebrations. Our new year starts at Farvardin 1st, which is around March 21. It’s the start of Spring called Nowruz.

However, the world is running with the Gregorian calendar therefore it is important. My blog dating system is also set to Gregorian calendar.

I really like the term “new year new me” as it is used to express the feeling of need for changing the bad habits and replacing them with good ones. However, I think human beings, such me myself, are always trying to be better and a new year, in this matter, is just working as an mental empowering thing.

But aside from that, I think I don’t want a new me. I hope in the new year I keep fighting for justice and I keep providing what I can for the benefit of all. I hope I don’t change much and if I change, it’s for the better of all, not just me myself.

I hope my fundamentals don’t change. Human beings grow and a sign of that is that our ideas change but for now, I don’t wish a new me as my ideas and ideals are pretty great, in my mind at least.

So new year, not a new me; hopefully.

December 25 is the birthday of Isaac Newton. On this day, we celebrate the existence of comprehensible physical laws and we call it Newtonmas or Grav-mass.

The name Newtonmas can be attributed to The Skeptics Society, which needed an alternative name for its Christmas party.

Celebrants send cards with “Reason’s Greetings!” printed inside, and exchange boxes of apples and science-related items as gifts. The celebration may have had its origin in a meeting of the Newton Association at Christmas 1890 to talk, distribute gifts, and share laughter and good cheer.

One other way to celebrate Grav-mass is to decorate a tree with apples and other fruits. Glue them or attach them, but not too well! The idea is that occasionally a fruit should fall.

Another way to celebrate Grav-mass, in a group, is by telling each other about scientific knowledge and understanding, or discussing what kind of experiment could answer an unresolved question about the world.

A Grav-Mass tree
A Grav-mass tree poster

Newtonmass can be celebrated by anybody who loves science and wants to have a reason for a celebration. It’s not exclusive to any specific group or belief.