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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

NO RUZ: (Manila based) Persians New Year's Party

What’s a Filipino doing in a Persian Party?  I was toiling with the idea while I was on my way to meet Gela, my co-teacher who is an Iranian.  Two weeks earlier, she was talking about Iranian food and other Iranian stuffs and accidentally she mentioned about the Iranian New Year. I was flabbergasted because summer was about to start (note: early as January I was already buying shorts at my ukay-ukay suki) and Iran was about to have their New Year’s Party.
Curiosity tickled my imagination and I started thinking of Iranian music and clothes, the shishas and the food, since it was supposed to be their New Year’s Celebration. “In the Persian calendar (used in Iran and Afghanistan) New Year's Day falls on the spring equinox (March 20 or 21 in the Gregorian calendar).” From Yahoo.
Saturday came and I was still undecided to wear my “Indian” costume since it was near to Iran national dress or I would wear my “normal” party get up.  Good thing I have good friends who “argued” with me a bit and forced me to wear my “normal” party get up (so as not to look over dressed for the party.)
I met Gela and her friends at Grilla (a promising bar along Kalayaan Avenue) for a pre-Persian Party.  Meeting Iranians for a shindig was something beyond my imagination. I had not tried going out with “pure” non-nationals though I tried going out with mixed ones; like a two or three non-nationals and the rest were locals.  Going out with them would mean two things: I would be speaking in English the whole time and I would solicit few discriminating stares. 
The venue was Sicorro Bar along Jupiter Street in Makati City. It was past 11 p.m. when we reached the venue.  My system started to malfunction as Iranians were lining for the entrance. I felt a total stranger in my own country as Iranians were “invading” my homeland. News in Libya and Egypt started to fill my head and the flashes of the news about the Iran-Iraq war brought a vibrant recollection.  Reality sat in when Gela called me for a stamp.  One Iranian ushered me in after I got a star on my right palm.
The venue was just right for the party; simple and no trace of elegance of an Arabian party. There were no chairs but cocktail tables covered with black linen (but that didn’t mean anything with the celebration).  We head straight to the bar hoping to reserve the area for us as more Iranians were coming. 
Iranians are beautiful people. The women wore big hair, reminiscent of the Olympian Goddesses. The men were simple and equally beautiful.  It was a shocking surprise (I have not studied Iranian culture and their literature was not even part of my syllabus for World Literature) to see Iranian men kissing each other’s cheek three times when greeting. I guess I was just conservative as my greeting is limited to hand shake or the “beso-beso.”
The dancing part was a bit intriguing. Iranians don’t “mixed” dance: I mean, men dance with men and women dance with women.  Although it was a sight to see them dancing. Unlike Filipinos who are more into Western steps, Iranians still maintain (and proud) of their native steps. There were more “hips” dancing than “hip” dancing. The music? Any patriotic Filipino will come to realize how less patriotic he can get once he joins a Persian Party. From the moment I came in up to the time my bed was calling me, there was nothing but Persian music. Oh, I remembered there was one English song, but sad to note they mixed it with an Iranian song and that didn’t count one.  And one thing that surprised me exceedingly, they all know the songs and everybody was singing.  That was one impressive act to follow.  To date, I have not memorized Francis Magalona’s  “Mga Kababayan Ko” even after his demise.
Although it was not really a real Persian experience or their NO RUZ party, a taste of it just started it all. Next time, it will be more than Salam!

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"There is no happiness for the person who does not travel. For Indra is the friend of the traveler, therefore wander!" by Brähmann On a personal note, I don't know Brahmann nor Indra, but the lines speak more than they are read. I gave birth to this travel blog, inspite of the fact that there are zillion of travel blogs out there, to share with you all that we can see the world without spending TOO MUCH. This is my Travel-budget-blog.