Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Nowruz!

Today is Nowruz (نوروز) or Persian New Year, which doubles as a celebration of spring and is celebrated in Iran and Afghanistan and some other parts of Central Asia as well as among the Persian diaspora worldwide. There are many traditions associated with this ancient holiday, including symbolic decorations involving dishes of sprouting wheat or barley and hyacinths. If you want to learn more, you can have a look at the Nowruz Wikipedia page here. Below are some spring-themed verses by Hāfez (1325/26–1389/90), one of the most revered poets of the Persian language:
ابر آذاری برآمد باد نوروزی وزید
 وجہ می میخواهم و مطرب کہ میگوید رسید

Spring winds the March rain clouds feed
Excuse for drinking wine, playing the reed.

رسید مژدہ کہ آمد بہ ار و سبزہ دمید
وظیفہ گر برسد مصرفش گل است و نبید 

Good news, spring is neigh and grass is green
Leave the trees and treat flowers like a queen.

صفیر مرغ برآمد بط شراب کجاست 
فغان فتاد بہ بلبل نقاب گل کہ کشید 

Birds whistle, singing where is loon of the wine?
The nightingale cries, who painted this flowery scene?  

نفس باد صبا مشک فشان خواهد شد 

عالم پیر دگربارہجوان خواہد شد

Morning breeze, its fragrance will exhale
The old world will once again youthfully sail.

ارغوان جام عقیقی بہسمن خواہ د داد

چشم نرگس بہ شقایق نگران خوابد شد

Redbud will bring a red cup to the meadows
Narcissus' eyes from poppy will grow pale.

The translations are from  the wonderful website Hafiz on Love, which contains the Persian text as well as English translations of the entirety of Hāfez's poetic works. Only in the translation of the last couplet did I correct "tulip" to "redbud" for the sake of botanical accuracy, since that is what the Persian text says.

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