Noruz: Triumph of Tradition

ambience: Iranian music

Tradition has a life of its own which runs deeper than fashion or politics. Just ask the current rulers of Iran, who tried to suppress the venerable tradition of Noruz – the Persian New Year, which has been celebrated for thousands of years. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Mahnaz Afkhami is director of the Foundation of Iranian Studies.

“The theocratic government in Iran was very much you know, like the old Puritans in this country. Anything that has to do with music or with joy or with physical pleasure is something that has to be shunned. So Noruz is just the personification of everything that is pleasant and joyful. So they were very much against that and also there was some pagan or nature loving side to it that they didn’t like. So at first they tried to ban it. But they weren’t able to bring that off because people were just too connected to this and they just went ahead and did it at any cost. And it became symbolic, symbolic of resistance. So now they tolerate it. Now they don’t ban it. But it’s not encouraged you see. It’s not like it’s been in the entire history, the twenty five hundred years of Iranian’s history. This thing has been something in which governments and officials and elite and grass roots have celebrated together. This government does not celebrate Noruz, but just tolerates it.”

The celebration of Noruz begins on the first day of spring and lasts for 13 days.

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner

music

Noruz: Triumph of Tradition

Although the government of Iran tried to suppress it, the venerable holiday of Noruz continues to be one of that nation's most popular celebrations.
Air Date:03/19/2009
Scientist:
Transcript:

ambience: Iranian music

Tradition has a life of its own which runs deeper than fashion or politics. Just ask the current rulers of Iran, who tried to suppress the venerable tradition of Noruz - the Persian New Year, which has been celebrated for thousands of years. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Mahnaz Afkhami is director of the Foundation of Iranian Studies.

"The theocratic government in Iran was very much you know, like the old Puritans in this country. Anything that has to do with music or with joy or with physical pleasure is something that has to be shunned. So Noruz is just the personification of everything that is pleasant and joyful. So they were very much against that and also there was some pagan or nature loving side to it that they didn't like. So at first they tried to ban it. But they weren't able to bring that off because people were just too connected to this and they just went ahead and did it at any cost. And it became symbolic, symbolic of resistance. So now they tolerate it. Now they don't ban it. But it's not encouraged you see. It's not like it's been in the entire history, the twenty five hundred years of Iranian's history. This thing has been something in which governments and officials and elite and grass roots have celebrated together. This government does not celebrate Noruz, but just tolerates it."

The celebration of Noruz begins on the first day of spring and lasts for 13 days.

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner

music