March 27, 2015

Ways to Celebrate this week for Nowruz!

As you know, we are right now in the middle of the 13-day celebration known as nowruz- the celebration began the moment the earth crossed the vernal equinox, and continues through Wednesday April 1st- we’ll bring you more information about the significance of this day early next week, but for now, here are a few things you should be doing this week to celebrate: deed o bāz deed- this literally means ‘to see and see again’. During the 13 days of the beginning of spring, the tradition is to go visit all of your friends and family, and they in turn have to come to your house to see you. Everyone is ready to be a gracious host this week, supplying guests with plenty of sweets to ring in the new year, and also tea and fruit of course (what Iranian household doesn’t have a giant bowl of fruit ready at all times?). It’s customary to visit elders of the family first, and then make your way through the list of all close family, friends, and even acquaintances.  wearing new clothes- generally Iranians will be prepared this week to wear at least one set of new clothing, all the way to the underwear. Because spring is a time for freshness and newness, this is symbolic of letting go of the old and displaying the new.  haft seen- during this week, Iranians have a special table set up in the house called the haft seen table- filled with symbolic items that represent spring, and seven items that begin with the Persian letter ‘seen’. These include items that represent prosperity, freshness, rebirth, love, and life, and that represent the new start provided by the new season. One of the most important elements of the nowruz haft seen table is wheatgrass, which is sprouted from grains a few days before the new year, and is thrown into water on the 13th day of nowruz (more on that next week!). So we hope you have an opportunity this weekend to visit some new friends and make some fresh starts in your life!  
March 20, 2015

Happy Nowruz 1394! Phrases to Use Today with Friends and Family

As you know if you’re around Iranians, today marks the beginning of the Nowruz holiday- the most important holiday in Iranian tradition. The year 1394 begins as soon as the earth passes the vernal equinox (it happens at 5:45 PM for us here in Texas, but check to see what time it happens in your neck of the woods).  Here’s the vocabulary to use with your friends and family to wish them a happy holiday:
February 03, 2015

Mehmoonee- Persian Wedding Receptions

In parts 1 and 2 of our wedding series, we set the stage for Persian weddings, and talked about the aghd, the ceremony portion of the wedding. In this last part of the series, we’ll go over the final part of a Persian wedding- the mehmoonee, or reception.
January 13, 2015

The Persian Wedding Aghd (Ceremony), a Step by Step Journey

In part 1 of our wedding series, we set the stage on which the events of a Persian wedding occur. We also described each of the elements of the sofreyé aghd, the table on which all the symbolic elements of the wedding are placed. In this post, let’s explore what actually takes place during the aghd, or ceremony.
January 05, 2015

Aroosi: Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Persian Weddings

Some big news for Chai and Conversation listeners. This upcoming May 2015, I, Leyla Shams, am going to marry my best friend of 12 years in Austin, Texas. That decision was a no-brainer. The wedding itself, however, is a different story.
April 15, 2014

13 Passing References to Persians That You Would Only Notice If You're Persian

The movie Clueless was released in 1995, and in it was the first positive ‘passing reference’ to Iranians I noticed in a major Hollywood picture. I was 10 years old when I saw this movie, and I still remember watching the scene where Cher, the glamorous popular high school girl, points to a group of cool-looking teenagers and says, 'That's the Persian Mafia- you can't hang out with them unless you own a BMW.' There wasn't a large Persian population in the town I was living in Texas, so just imagining these too-cool-for-school "Persians" being noticed and commented on by the most popular girl in school was astounding to me.
March 20, 2014

7 Things You Need to Do For Persian New Year (Nowruz!)

To all our Iranian peeps, as well as the Kurds, Zoroastrians, Sufis, Ismailis, Alevis, Alawites, Babis, Bahá'ís, and many of the brave folks in Crimea and elsewhere throughout the world, NOWRUZ PIROUZ! To everyone else, 12:57pm EST marks the vernal equinox, the first day of spring, and the new year ("Now-ruz" = "New day"). If you slacked off for 2014 or Chinese New Year, here's your chance to start anew, along with the earth and the moon and the stars. This is a secular holiday and should be honored and celebrated by everyone who lives on earth. Everyone gets the same amount of sun today. The theme is action, vitality, courage. Fertility, creativity, hope. Clean your house, clean your head, take a deep breath, and be good to yourself and others, near and far, in 1393. Move in motion with the universe, and your heart and home will be in balance and harmony.
July 10, 2012

Presenting our video about 'Tarof'!

This is a short video describing the concept of Tarof, the Persian form of etiquette, to people who may not be familiar with it.
March 18, 2012

Presenting our first video for Nowruz 1391!

This video goes through some of the vocabulary associated with the Persian New Year, called Nowruz. Also, for the first time, see Matt and Leyla in action! As always, PLEASE ENJOY.
April 17, 2011

R.I.P. Legendary Designer Bijan

The legendary Beverly Hills designer known simply as Bijan died today at the age of 67. He owned what was known as 'the most expensive store in the world' on Beverly Hills drive, a store open by appointment only. In his many years as a fashion designer in the United States, designed clothes for some of the most powerful men in the world (including Barack Obama and several other sitting presidents).