#LiveTogether Beyond Borders


My favorite tradition is the Persian new year which is always the very second the northern hemisphere revolves to spring. We celebrate new beginnings with the symbols of blossoms, light, growth, nourishment, prosperity, and forgiveness. As with any holiday and any ritual, we soon after forget the meaning behind it until the next year. The more frequent we practice these sage methods to living a fruitful life the more naturally they become part of our practice.

The symbolisms honored in Buddhism are relics to remind those practicing to awaken to the moment and to be conscious of what we are being reactive to. The Norooz Persian new year symbolisms originated from the Zoroastrian [1] religion to signify that nature renews itself from the harshness of winter. The pillars of this 3,500-year-old religion exalt good thoughts, good words, and good action. The festivities of the tradition remind us that for renewal and growth takes diligent benevolent action. The symbolisms are traditionally adhered to among seculars and those piously practicing Zoroastrianism. A decorative table referred to as Haft Seen is set to remind us of these virtues.


Norooz haft seen in Shomal Iran1. sprouts from wheat, barley, mung beans or lentils = growth 2. sweet pudding from wheat germ = richness
3. oleaster = love
4. garlic = health
5. sumac = the color of sunrise
6. wine or vinegar = age and patience
7. eggs = birth


So why are traditions important? If we keep a broad view on how to advance and improve our living condition, socioeconomic condition, and the human condition then we can’t be remiss to looking into what populations have done in the past that is still working for them.

For how divided Iranians have been after the 1979 Revolution, it continues to elate me that Norooz unites us. It’s the one occasion that doesn’t cause any offense to the factions of pro-Shah, pro-democracy, pro-Islamic Republic, the majority self-claimed non-Muslims, the minority pious Muslims, and the other minority of Iranians Jews and Christians. This long standing tradition affords Iranians to greet one another with a simple Noroozetoon Pirooz. If more non-Iranians new about the importance of the Persian New Years celebrated by many populations from the former Persian empire, then I would be flattered to say that at times this might be the simplest opportunity to greet someone anywhere from Mongolia to Kosovo “Happy Spring New Year”.

On a molecular level, our survival is governed by the diversity in our genes to help overcome mutations. In our compatibility genes, it’s vital to have our differences in how effective our immune systems work. In other words don’t opposites attract? On a social level, if we feed into the echo chambers of one school of thought or faction, do we really want to emulate North Korea? If we just take a few moments a day to breath in the truth about our difference then we can give ourselves time to become aware that it’s not our difference that causes separation, it’s our fear of discomfort.

For many westerners, Rumi continues to illuminate the possibility of love uniting us through self-awareness. In April 2014, I was interviewed on the Rice University Radio show called Navrang to speak about the mysticism of Rumi that lives ecstatically through enthusiasts of a world without separation. You can listen to it here.

This year I was inspired to do the #NoroozChallenge from Anousheh Ansari’s live broadcast. You can view my video post here.

Future #LiveTogether challenges will celebrate Passover, Cinco de Mayo, LGBT Pride, etc. Make sure to be part of the challenge to dissolve the polarized separation in our society. www.livetogether.org