Category Archives: Iranian Culture

The sum of who we are.

Nouroz Greetings

We Iranians use various ways to greet one another. This is part of our culture and greeting is about paying respect. Nouroz  greeting however is really special, it has many elements of positive psychology.  This is something to  acknowledge and celebrate.

1.    Har roz Nouroz and Nouroz piroz = Everyday be Nouroz and Nouroz be successful
It is not a coincident that we Iranian use phrases such as this one.  Greeting is an important factor in our interpersonal relationships.  Specifically during Nouroz, We Iranian greet one another with kind words, mostly using future oriented well wishes.  When we wish that every day be Nouroz, we basically hope for growth and change in our everyday life.  By hoping for a successful Nouroz, we challenge ourselves to do our best to celebrate this ancient Persian tradition with our best resources.  We basically want to use our healthy oriented mind to celebrate spring and New Year that is filled of new hopes and new achievements.

2.    Emsal beh az in salha = this year may be better than these years.
Again we look forward and let go of the past.  We like to move on in our lives and build better life in future. This way of greeting is positive, healthy, and peaceful.

Five days left to Nouroz

Poran Poregbal



Every year, the last Tuesday of the last week, before the Iranian New Year, we Iranians / Persian / Farsi communities, we celebrate.  In the evening of Tuesday, it is our time to jump over fire.   We name this event as Chahar-Shanbeh-Sori or Wednesday-party, while the party is really on in the Tuesday evening.  This is a community event where people are invited to come together and celebrate something bigger, the reality of a burning fire. This event contains enjoyment of  here and now while future health is in the main focus.

It sounds complicated, however this tradition is forward looking and we celebrate it in the last Tuesday to look forward for the Wednesday when spring is getting closer. I guess we Iranians have always lived our life by looking forward for a better future since Chahar-Shanbe-Sori is the time for getting ourselves warm by doing some extra activities and physical exercises.  This is a time for appreciating fire and this is a time for asking fire for our redness.
Somehow, I guess in the past, in our ancient time, after a long winter people celebrated the coming spring by putting a nice fire together.  We could say in the light of a big fire, we manage to put things into a context.
We create some meaning and reason for what we do and what we are going to do in a near future, by communicating in the light of the flames.  If we do not have anyone to talk to, at least we have the fire or the flames.  Making a wish or praying while jumping over the small flames does not mean we are crazy, this is a tradition and we let go of our yellowness while asking for the fire’s redness.
Chahar-shanbe- Sori is the evening for connecting ourselves to the ancient history of hope.  Through the lens of a clinical perspective,  we could say that our,  Chahar-shanbe- Sori  is a really interesting occasion for looking forward for physical, emotional, and spiritual health in addition to a holistic well-being.
By understanding the real meaning of Chahar-shanbe- Sori, we might be able to be grateful for the  culture that has been passed down to us in a new light.
Without a doubt, Chahar-shanbe Sori prepare us for the spring. How?   Our ancestors appreciated fire, because fire is about life, a reason for Chahar-shanbe- Sori having a connection to health, hope, and prosperity.
We leap over fire to let go of what is ill in us, whether physical illness or mental distress.
We communicate with the fire by singing a song for it and asking fire to donate its warmth to us.
We converse with our universe because this is a time of moving ourselves beyond what is ill or bad.  This beautiful ancient Persian / Iranian tradition creates a collective culture, a community that can share fire and the joy of living life around its warmth.
This tradition is about valuing spirituality and connection to life.
Chahar-Shanbe-Sori a culturally based tradition that has survived though folklores, stories, metaphors, art, literature, poetry, faith, and scripted material.
This is most certainly a school of thought that has deep humanistic tone.
Chahar-Shanbeh-Sori speak to us, has a voice telling us that we are all part of the human world and we are connected to our mother earth.
Idea behind this tradition is that we let go of excuses, anger, revenge, misery, conflicts, and blame.
Fire knows its duty; to burn down all those hard emotions.
We are confident that fire will then give us its glow and love.
It is in that moment of love that we find relief, we evaluate our values, we pay attention, we realize our bonds, and we find forgiveness.
Chahar-Shanbe-Sori is the most dynamic and exciting tradition in which, in one moment of jumping over the flames of the fire, many magic things occur.  We find health.
This is how our Iranian culture has survived and will survive.
Most certainly we Iranian have a tradition and a culture to be proud of, because it is about peace, joy, and life.
May you find health and prosperity by giving your poor health to the burning flames of a beautiful fire.
Happy Chahar-Shanbe-Sori

Poran Poregbal
March 8, 2009



Nouroz symbolizes growth, change, and human development.   In our Iranian culture we celebrate Nouroz which is the first day of spring.  We have to acknowledge the fact that Afghans, Tajiks, and several other nations also celebrate Nouroz.
Without doubt we are proud of our connection to the mother earth, the only reason for our New Year festivity.  Nouroz is a new day, a new life, and a new view.  In a one year period we live and explore all our options for being kind, doing well, and benefiting others.  Nouroz is about renewing friendships, resolving conflicts, and celebrating our human life.  Nouroz comes with spring, a time of rejuvenation, and finding healthier life style.   Spring for us Iranian is a time of reconnecting to our wows and to our values.  We Iranian develop ourselves with spring, this is why our human development is entangled with nature, sunshine, moon light, stars, spring, growth of  seed plants, trees, flowers,  herbs, bushes, grasses, and vines.
We cultivate and expand hopefully with our new year because we are supposed to do what the mother Earth is doing; to renew.  Nouroz invites us to find new hopes and new desires when the spring is knocking on our doors.  We celebrate by cleaning, renewing, and restarting.  Spring confirms our values.  We admire flowers, beauty, movement, change, and kindness.  We love fishes, animals, grass, fruits, herbs, and anything that stand for life. This is a culture described through thousands poems and texts left to us from those real Persians.
Ferdowsi is one great poet and philosopher from 10th century who describes our Iranian culture with thousands of poems.   In Shahnameh or the Epics of the Kings, Ferdowsi witness our love for soil, fire, and water.
Enjoy Nouroz.
Poran Poregbal
March 4, 2009


Culture is our only Weapon

Culture is the implicit and explicit manifestation of our shared values,ideas, believes, and heritage.  Our Iranian culture or better to say our Persian culture has always been part of what we do, how we think, how we behave, and how we feel. After three decades of living in paradoxes, we Iranian are learning gradually to respect our shared culture with celebrating it proudly. We are learning to let go of our personal biased opinions and ideas while instead just enjoy being part of a greater truth, the truth of co-existing with the universe.
We Iranian are conceptualizing our own history with baby steps and learning to appreciate our past instead of condoning. We Iranian are aware of the need for a change; however, this change has to happen within us; each one of us.  This is a unique historic period we do find ourselves in, we are shifting, experiencing, forming, and reforming our culture and out identity. We have to be brave to accept this stage of pre-contemplation and the transfer to contemplation level of change. Change is about discovering of a healthy identity, a sense of belonging, and a sense of partnership with other people who happen to live on the same planet as us.
After three decades and chapters of life in migration, experiences of dissociation and trauma of dislocation, now we are sincerely noticing our own culture, something that has been passed down to us for over two thousand year; The culture of celebrations and appreciations of health, happiness, and prosperity.

The cultural attitudes that we have been passing unnoticed, are now crossing the intersections of our Iranian lives.

The culture of respect and love for our nature is part of what we celebrate as Nouroz; the love for rain, for sun shine, for fire, for water, and for mother earth.
We Iranian experience our culture more than ever; at least this is true for us in Vancouver, British Columbia. We should be grateful for the level of acknowledgment of our shared culture, the Persian culture that has survived and will survive all the attacks of those who blindly are opposing it.
We are now noticing that the only weapon we have is our culture. We need this weapon to fight the darkness that the enemies of happiness try to cover us with. We have got only our culture to survive with, to be part of the future, and to continue endlessly.

These months of February-March 2008 we have been witness of several cultural events on the North Shore.

We may agree that all these gatherings of our Iranian population symbolized the notion of dignity, cultural appreciation, and respectful maneuvers for our various ethnical groups. This gathering for no means represent a culture as the Persian culture, however it is part of the greater context, the survival based need for a culture to express itself through its audience.

International Women’s day Celebration
A grass root community group of hard working women and men put together a beautiful event on February 29, 2008. Tickets for this event were sold out long before the tickets got to the stores. The enormous Kay Meek Center in West Vancouver was the place where Iranian women and men had the opportunity to validate, to acknowledge, and to appreciate Iranian women and women around the world. Programs were well-planned and the whole event was the real proof for the strength of a culture that has been under attack for centuries. The planning committee of this event inspired us for open and healthy discussions about what is the most important aspect of being Iranian; the sense of encouragement that we have lacked before for those millions of women who suffer the most.
This group who are now registered as a non profit organization named Iranian women Cultural Society is the first official women group here in British Columbia.

Royal Bank Financial Group Gala for the Iranian Nouroz

March 17 of 2008, Centennial Theater in North Vancouver was the place for a large group of Iranian who were invited to celebrate Iranian new years. The invitation came from the Royal Bank of Canada Financial Group. This event was an exceptional acknowledgment of our Iranian business men and women who trust RBC as their financial institution. The sense of appreciation and recognition of who we are was not only about RBC customers, but also was about us as Iranian who share our life with the Canadian community. The regional president of RBC opened the ceremony and called upon us: the valued customers. It was at that moment when my mind fled to another world. If our own Iranian government has purposefully made the concept of life as a miserable ground for its citizens, everywhere we Iranian are, outside of our home country we are being appreciated for the hard working and creative group of people we indeed are.
This event had a clear message, that we as Iranian should value our Persian heritage and our culturally significant Iranian new year. The beautiful musical show and live performance by Pars National Ballet made all of us to catch our breath and go back to those years of aid in Iran. I was most grateful to experience the huge need for feeling a community feeling. This feeling happened because of Royal Bank of Canada.

Ambleside Fire Jumping, West Vancouver

The bus driver from down town Vancouver knew where people were going people who were getting to West Vancouver by bus did not need to explain much or even ask for direction. The bus driver was telling them that yes the fire jumping is happening at Ambleside and he would let people know
which bus station to take off. At the bus young fellow Iranian as well as some middle age people were excited to get to the Ambleside park. One lady was explaining the event of the chahar-shanbe-Sori to one gentleman on the bus who could sense the excitement in the air.
People in general could sense something exciting happening, the bus toward west Vancouver not the same. The Chahar-shanbe-Sori happening on the last Tuesday evening before the Iranian year. This is the time of the year that we appreciate fire and asks the fire to offer us its healthy look, its warmth, and its strength. We ask the fire for enlightenment and health. Fire has a significant meaning for us Iranian and the event of this red Wednesday is thousand year old. This evening was the live play where many of our Iranian population were the characters. We came out to jump over fire and to say that we are still
alive. We came out to say that our culture is alive and will be alive. This gathering was the perfect proof that a culture can not be killed; a culture is alive once people stand on their two feet.
This gathering happened in harmony, peace, and congruency. This play was artfully directed and organized by people who love the life, who are alive, and who will not fall for extremism. People stayed and waited in line up to jump over fires that were placed in a special protected area of the park. The line ups were authentic and respectful.
The line up was expressive, articulative, and communicative. The line up had a body language, a non-verbal language, and a silent acknowledgment of what is the most important; our culture of joy who will not fall for darkness of those who will destroy our culture with the name of god. Young children as well as elderly people all jumped over or only walked over that fire while wishing health and happiness of the fire. People enjoyed themselves in the line ups for delicates such as kebab and soup ; ashe restheh. West Vancouver Police was for years in row standing there watching these groups of Iranian laughing and talking with one another Representatives for Stephan Harper, Mayors of West and North Vancouver, and all other authorities came to join our Iranian celebration and offer us good wishes for our new Iranian year. We may wish that we will be having these joyful celebrations one day in our home country without fear of punishment.

May god bless our people and our culture and bring peace in our home country as well as around the world.  We have a lot to say and to do, we have a culture to pass down to our children.  May god guide us in this matter.
Poran Poregbal
March 19,2008


Survival of a Culture

Survival of a Culture, the Iranian culture, depends on us. Who else?

Our Iranian community has an outstanding need to talk about many topics. Victimization is a concept we do not know much about, although all of us, nine out of ten of us, have been victims of crime, trauma, sexism, oppression, gender apartheid, racism, and violence. We have carried the burden of these crimes without any chance for addressing the pain and feelings associated with them.

We have never been told that we are not to blame.

Humanity and human rights is a strong agency, we have to wake up to it! It exists!

Each of us has stories of embarrassment, of humiliation, of hurt by people who use their selfishness to tell us how we should be! Times have changed. We need to speak out about the impact of that victimization on our physical, mental, and psychological health.

What is happening with our culture, our interactions with the world and our personal and national growth? What can we do to spread the language of love, joy, help, altruism, forgiveness, humanity, justice, and respect? How can we let go of our egos? We are fighting in the name of this and that religion, ideal, belief, and political interest instead of working for and with our commonalities!

We are survivors; our history is about survival and coping. We have existed and we continue to exist. We need to pass down the culture of survival instead of the culture of victimization!

A true, genuine and multifaceted help! We need to learn our own history again. We need to find those positive sources of knowledge and logic so that we can rewrite our history based on what we know now! We were taught as children that kindness, love, and respect work. Where is that kindness, love, and respect?

People are tired; we need peace: peace in our language, peace in our actions, peace in our thoughts, peace in our behaviours, peace in our families, peace in our hearts. Enough is enough! We should be able to discuss these issues! Let’s discuss them!

May 24, 2007




Our Iranian community needs to discuss the three decades of Diaspora and its impact on culture, family life, and our next generations.

We have a large Persian community now around the world, which thanks to Internet and new technology could work together to find a common ground on many areas of life.

We need to learn cooperation and collaboration. We have to break the silence of all the stigma and pain we have carried. Our women and our young girls need to find a forum to be validated for all the human rights issues they are still suffering big.

Our men and women together need to share their knowledge about how we can help our next generations survive this culture of migration and constant move, with ties back home!

We have an Afghan community around us who speak Dari-Persian and who like to learn many aspects of cultural growth!

We have many other people from Tajikistan and other areas who speak Perisan-Parsi!

There are many charity organizations in Iran and around the world being run by our Iranian men and women. We could do such huge positive impact in the life of those who need the most!

May 31, 2007