Naw-Ruz, Strength, Rituals and Smoke

Yesterday was Naw-Ruz, or ‘new day’ in Persian; it’s when Baha’is celebrate New Year.

While neither Joe nor I are Baha’i, we tend to find ourselves at many of the local Baha’i celebrations simply because we have good friends who are Baha’i and they often invite us to tag along. In this particular case they asked Joe to play his bagpipes. He performed a song that was hundreds of years old…it is thought to have been written for the Earth Goddess (pre-Christianity).

From the Dakhka Khwaan's Facebook page.

A First Nations dance group – the Dakhka Khwaan from Carcross/Tagish – followed Joe with a song that was written during the last Ice Age and is about travelling in a boat and seeing icebergs.

In both cases, the music was never written down. I am blown away by the idea that these melodies have been able to survive for so many generations.

Next came a song written by a teenager in the dance group. The words and melody came to her while she was in seclusion…something that in the past young First Nations women did once they reached puberty and started to menstruate. It’s not something that’s usually done these days. In this young woman’s case, it hadn’t been done in her family for more than 90 years.

She seemed so sure of herself and so strong, and I couldn’t help but compare her to the way my daughter was at that age…so lost. Joe says the difference comes from having a deep knowing of who you are, and that deep knowing comes from ritual. We did have some rituals when our kids were growing up but I can’t help but feel a bit sad that maybe I didn’t do enough. Guess it’s that perpetual ‘mommy guilt’ thing.

In any case, it was a great evening. I did have a bit of a scare when we got back home and discovered I had left a burner on with a hot pan of oil on it. It was probably ‘this close’ to catching on fire. We turned all the fans on and my eyes still stung most of the night. Yikes!


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