Hyacinths and Hope


OK--everybody who has heard of Nowruz, put your hand up. I realize, unless you are Iranian, or a Zoroastrian, or a reader (like me) of the Sunday New York Times, you probably didn't raise your hand. But I must say, I was very taken with an article describing this Iranian holiday a week ago Sunday. It's official flower is hyacinth, and some of its delicacies include chickpea cookies and sprouted lentils

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It's a springtime celebration--a recognition of the hope that is in the air this time of year. Apparently, while rooted in Zoroastrianism, it is not a specifically religious holiday. I got a kick out of the way Firoozeh Dumas, the author of the Times article, put it: "Here is a holiday that asks only one thing of you--to have hope. . . . There is no controversy associated with Nowruz. No indigenous people were displaced, no wars were fought, no one died. Unless winter comes up with some sordid revelation about spring, we are in the clear." ("Your New Iranian Holiday," New York Times, 3-19-17, Review-2)

To have hope. That's not a very tall order, or at least not most days. Granted, in light of the mess in Washington right now, and the poor relations Iran itself has with some of its neighbors, and the threat posed by North Korea, and the fact that some folks still deny climate change, one could say hope's in short supply. But of course, the minute we say that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Sop here's to spring--and here's to hope. The hope that we human beings will get our act together and stop dividing ourselves over every little difference we can find. Here's to the hope that we can open ourselves up to that Love that permeates the universe, and worry less about labels and the names we use for the Holy. Here's to spring--and to the hope it holds out every year that we can begin again, that we can start fresh, that we can be renewed. Here's to hyacinths and Nowruz and hope.

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