The Thirteenth Day Of Spring
- an ancient Persian tradition
by Reza Ganjavi
Greetings from California, the land of material plentitude, cultural poverty, kind people, and great sunlight.
For thousands of years Persians have ended their New Year celebration by going outdoors on the 13th day of spring, and the various rituals that are involved - such as single girls tying the grass in hope of finding a husband. The largest population of Persians outside Iran is in Southern California, and Orange County witnesses the biggest 13th celebration in the world, with as many as 30,000 people attending the park on the Sunday closest to the 13th day of spring.
I lived in Orange County since I was 17. Mother ocean fills the air with her wondrous aura. I am a beach-boy, though I never surfed. My heart gets as big as the ocean when I am next to her. My trip to California coincided with the 13th celebration. It was a great chance to meet old/lost friends and make new ones. I walked around all day in the huge park doing technique exercises on the guitar to catch up with the lack of practice last couple of days.
My cousin Eaman was with me all day. He is only 15, but he really understood everything we talked about: how real religion has to do with the harmony between body, mind, and heart; the meaning of "what is", how conflict between what is and what should be causes loss of energy, how tremendous it is to not be broken up inwardly (and outwardly), to learn about conflict and end it. To end fear. That the now is the only thing that is happening, alive, free of time as past and future, and to be in the now, e.g. to really listen or see, the brain must be very quiet since its movement is largely based on the known: past experience which is limited.
One reason why so many people use drugs is to make their brains quiet. Most of our problems are caused by thinking too much... when there is order in life, when thinking understands its own limitation, as when there is perception of beauty, the brain can be naturally quiet. A quiet brain if free from time, and therefore open to the possibility of the timeless, god (not the god you pray to with a toll free call as advertised on American television!)
Some of the people I had not seen for some years had gotten older and fatter. Most are more committed: married, kids, etc. People gather around a big circle while one or two people dance in the middle. Most people are spectators in life, only a few are players. The party continued at another cousin's house who lives near the park. Met a 4 year old Beatles fan who really had the right spirit - music moved him. Great food, great company, sunshine, and Eucalyptus trees made a great day. Wishing you a good day too.