birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Norouz in the 1960s

In the 1960s my family’s celebration of Norouz, the Iranian New Year holiday, lasted a whole month. There was a great deal of preparation in the last two weeks of the year – it included a major housecleaning, buying new clothes and shoes, buying dried goods and fruits for the many visitors, buying gifts for relatives and neighbors. The last Tuesday evening of the year was a time to set small bonfires in every street while children and adults jumped over the flames, exclaiming “take my paleness and give me your red flames.” Kids also engaged in “trick or treating” not with costumes but while wearing a veil and banging on pots and pans. The moment of transition from one your to the next, on the exact moment of the spring equinox, differed each year. But no matter if it was early morning or late evening, we all gathered around a specially set table, with lots of symbolic items, apples, coins, fish, mirrors, etc. and celebrated. Then for two weeks we visited family members and neighbors in their homes and they visited our home. And finally on the 13th day of the new year we all went out on a picnic somewhere near a river or a stream of water to bring the holidays to a closure.


A New Year

Memory, Mourning, Celebration