27th of June (6th of Khordad of Iranian calendar) is the anniversary of “Khordadegan Celebration”.
Zoroastrian Fire Temple in Yazd
Our Zoroastrian ancestors headed to the river bends and sea sides on this day and after praising “Ahura Mazda” (Higher Power), they spent their day with dear ones in the nature, also Lilies and Jasmine flowers were given as part of the ceremony. However, since then, it’s the Lilium Flower which has been the official symbol of this day.
Khordadegan Celebration Traditions:
One of the most important traditions on this day is going to the river bends and sea sides accompanied by friends and family, chanting religious benedictions praising “Ahura Mazda” and spending a joyful day.
Some of the activities on this day has been pointed out in the book of “ Farziat Nameh” written by the elder Zoroastrian priest “ Datur Darab Palen” which describes some of the activities on this day including: washing bodies, digging wells and renewing water canals.
Taking great care and attending water reservoirs and rebuilding water sources such as:
Fountains, wells, streams and water canals which are responsible for providing all living creatures on earth with water.
In the darkest moments of Iran’s history when Persia had been conquered, first by the Arabs who brought Islam, and later by barbarians from central Asia, one man sets out to revive its past and keep the Persian language and culture alive. Ferdowsi is credited with preserving the Persian language.
Arguably the most important work of Iranian literature, Ferdowsi’s epic poem Shahnameh was written without a single word of Arabic. He is therefore credited with saving the Persian language from becoming Arabic after the Islamic conquest. In fact, when asked why present-day Egypt speaks Arabic instead of Coptic, a prominent Egyptian historian stated matter-of-factly, “Because we had no Ferdowsi.”
Rostam Mourns Sohrab
Ferdowsi (940 – 1020Ad) was born in Tus, a town in North Eastern Iran, in the province of Khorasan. He devoted over 35 years of his life to the creation of the Shahnameh, which is the longest work of epic poetry ever written, composed of over 60,000 verses. Translated as ‘The Book of Kings’, the Shahnameh spans the history of Iran from mythical times until the Sassanid period in the 7th century, telling the tales of heroic blacksmiths, despotic rulers and wicked demons who form the currents of good and evil which run throughout human history. Through his complex characters, Ferdowsi demonstrates the capacity for lightness and darkness and for happiness and unhappiness, in every being, encouraging his readers to actively take the side of good. He glorifies war and warriors, yet his characters rarely escape the consequences of their actions. The most famous story in the book is that of Rostam, a warrior whose bravery and skill surpass all others, and who defeats unbeatable foes.
Iranians compare him to the Greek poet Homer. His statue gazes over the traffic in a Tehran square. The closing couplets of his great poem are chiseled into the walls of the classical tomb built to his memory in northeastern Iran. Most importantly, his book remains in many Iranian homes and hearts.
It is true that it was Ferdowsi, with a single great book, who preserved the Persian language, history and mythology from being erased.
Ferdowsi concludes the Shahnameh by writing:
Much I have suffered in these thirty years,
I have revived the Ajam with my verse
I will not die then alive in the world,
For I have spread the seed of the word
Whoever has sense, path and faith,
After my death will send me praise.
History is a poem written by time on the memories often fade and new generations always replace the old, Shiraz is faithful custodian of the past that has shaped the Iranian nation.
The ”Gate of All Nations” at Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenids, is where dignitaries from every comer of the Persian Empire passed through before entering the Throne Hall to pay homage to the reigning Achaemenid king. A pair of Lamassi (winged lions with human heads) guard the eastern entrance of this structure.
Shiraz. Arg Karim Khani
Shiraz is a museum of time, where one can witness the rise and fall of empires, the triumph and defeat of dynasties and the artistic ingenuity of Persian craftsmen, magnificent mosques, lively markets, massive cliff tombs and embellished shrine. Every year on 5th of May (15 Ordibehesht) everyone travel to Shiraz to celebrate the “National Day of Shiraz” because of its reach history, outstanding culture and of course its mild weather in May.
Every corner of the city boasts a memorial built by a past ruler – a contribution that ensures their benefactors will not be consigned to oblivion and will live on in memories for as long as these monuments stand.
Shiraz. Narenjestan Qavam
The ancient Persians were the creators of parks known as Paradise Gardens which inspired garden design throughout Asia and Europe. The lavish use of flowers in these gardens inspired the weaving of floral designs into what is known as the garden carpet. Eram, which means Eden, is one such garden in Shiraz where palm trees, flower beds and fountains have created a pleasant atmosphere for all to enjoy.
Shiraz is where once dignitaries from every corner of the empire converged to pay homage to their king. Shiraz is still the city of ancient customs, timeless traditions, and colorful costumes. Where nomadic tribes still offer their handmade creations in the city’s market.
One of the dynasties to rule Shiraz and construct a royal district were the Zands (1750-1794) Vakil mosque is a remainder of that era. The mosque is famed for its Minbar (pulpit) which has been cut from a solid piece of green marble and its Shabistan (inner sanctum) which has 48 monolithic marble pillars carved in spirals.
Shiraz is where the most eloquent of Persian bards like Hafez, Saadi and Khwaju Kermani lived and died, poets who captured the hearts and inspired the minds of not only their nation but also some of the greatest writers and scholars of the word. It is the city of mystics, Sufis and saints, the city of hypnotic melodies and poignant song, the city of artist’s expression and innovation, the city of acceptance, of warmhearted and fun-loving people.
Saadi, wrote a poem eight century ago that later became a motto on the entrance of the United Nations building:
Human beings are members of a whole, In creation of one essence and soul. If one member is afflicted with pain, Other members uneasy will remain. If you’ve no sympathy for human pain, The name of human you cannot retain!
Famed for its unique colored glass facade, Nasir ai-Mulk Mosque or the Pink Mosque was built in 1888. Because of its elaborate decorations the mosque is a popular tourist destination at all hours of the day, however, many opt to visit the Pink Mosque between 7 am and 10 am in order to witness the pink glow the mosque is famous for.
Shiraz. Nasir Al Mulk Mosque
Shiraz is the city of poetry, the city of wine garden and roses. The city of flowers and nightingales. The city of Cypress trees and orange blossoms. The city of love. Shiraz is the cultural capital of Iran. Shiraz is an enchantress that beckons one and all to come revel in its beauty, discover is treasures and witness its glory.