Happy Valentine’s Day, Happy Spendarmaz. Rewinding in a week of love and affection!
by Shiva Kambari
Attachment is a wonder-full thing. Not only does it connect you to others, but through them it also widens your scope of empathy and acceptance, so that your world, likes and rituals are furthered and enriched.
So it is too with me and Valentine’s day, which used to be nothing to me, until – paradoxically- it came to be so much to the youth of Iran, so in need of the incentive and a chance for showing and receiving affection, in a country where next to all the economic and social pressures and limitations, laughter and happiness are frowned upon by the ruling powers. A people living under the threat of foreign attack – between neighbors living under occupation and war , looking for the chance to express love , and responding to a need to feel affection!
In “the Celebration day of Love”, M. Saadat Noury writes:
“Reliable evidence indicates that whispering, worshiping, and celebrating love in Persian Culture trace back to pre-Zoroastrian era, long before Zoroaster’s time.
According to some documents the ancient Iranians used to celebrate the Day of Love at the end of Bahman (coinciding with February 18) or at the beginning of Esfand (coinciding with February 19), and the feast was known as Spendarmat or Spendarmaz.
In Iranian Culture, Valentine’s Day is finding its place in the hearts of many Iranians particularly during the recent years. Undoubtedly, Iranians are hungry for joy and pleasure. Reliable evidence indicates that the number of Iranians who are celebrating Valentine’s Day is dramatically rising. The young people of Iran argue that celebrating love is a part of Persian Culture and Tradition, dating back thousands of years.. Classic Persian Poems composed by Hafez, Mowlana, Nezami-Ganjavi, and many others, are full of the poems on love.”
And so it is through our attachment to the Iranian youth , that I and others close to me have now come to celebrate a week of love and affection , from February 13th to the 19th, seeking to make up for all the days that so many around us promote hatred and detachment , in many very different ways.
For it is not only those in power in many parts of the world who propagate hatred…but also many others , each in their lonely corners , who criticize and belittle others, not out of attachment or hope for change – but out of hatred for human beings and a lack of empathy with and respect for their needs, fears , wounds and desires.
Many – too many – who use words much like stones, to wound and pain with, who point to failures and shortcomings to preach that human nature is fowl or unalterable, who use mistakes and follies in others to hide their own inability to feel attached or at peace with their limited human selves.
People who hate people, and therefore can not feel empathy.
People whom we may feel sorry for, but who we can not allow to mar our vision for the fact that human nature is all about change , as well as the basic truth of the relativity of human actions and reactions to the given conditions.
For human life is about many things, among them change , hope and attachment – and above all…about the ability to give and receive love.
Or as the Persian poet Hafez notes :
“Whoever was intimate with his heart, his love defined
And he who was not, in his doubt was left behind.
Found nothing more joyful than the sound of words of love
In this turning Merry-Go-Round that You rewind !”
So as a “demonstration” of the nature of us wonderful , attached, limited and yet unbounded affectionate human beings, come celebrate with us the week of love , by being more caring about , respectful of and responsible for those about you – as well for this our common planet and the hope of the majority of its inhabitants to live in peace and ever increasing justice ; for this is the only form of humanity- in deed.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Happy Spendarmaz!