My son, Kian

Here’s a snippet of a home video with my son Kian (16 months) having dinner earlier today, that I just had to share with you guys! It’s moments like this that make motherhood truly the very best job in the world!!!


 

 

 
(photo by Everything Between Photography)

At our Haftsin- Kian's 1st Norooz!

I love March – winter wraps up and leaves, welcoming blooming flowers and bright morning as Spring comes in. As Iranians, we celebrate the beginning of the year in Spring. The Persian new year- Norooz – is a beautiful tradition dating back over 7,000 years. This is my blog on what it’s all about and what we do as a family!

I was born in Iran, and as both my parents are Persian, meant we always observed the Persian traditions- with Norooz as the highlight! In the lead up to Norooz, we set ‘Haftsin’. This is a table setting of 7 things beginning with S (in Farsi). You can see our Haftsin in the photo above. Here’s what all the items represent:

  1. Sabzeh (سبزه) - wheatbarleymung bean or lentil sprouts growing in a dish – symbolising rebirth
  2. Samanu (سمنو) - sweet pudding made from wheat germ – symbolising affluence
  3. Senjed (سنجد) – dried oleaster Wild Olive fruit – symbolising love
  4. Seer (سیر) - garlic – symbolising medicine
  5. Seeb (سیب) - apple – symbolising beauty and health
  6. Sekke  - Coins – symbolising wealth
  7. Serkeh (سرکه) - vinegar – symbolising old-age and patience

Other products you can find at a Haftsin:

  • Mahi (fish): symbolizes life
  • Tokhmeh Morgh (egg): symbolizes fertility
  • Sham (candle): symbolizes enlightenment
  • Shirini (sweets): symbolizes spreading the sweetness
  • A book of poetry or prayer (we use ‘Faale Hafiz’)
  • A mirror

The new year coincides with the Spring Equinox- I love this, because to me, it makes such logical sense to mark the beginning of the year by welcoming Spring! When I moved into my own house with my husband, I was so excited about laying my own Haftsin! My husband and I usually sit down and paint the eggs together- this year, Kian smudged paint onto the egg on our Haftsin!

It was Kian’s first Norooz- and it’s so important to me for him to experience it and learn about our traditions- pic above of me showing Kian all the 7 s’s.. The Norooz happens at a specific time depending on the Spring Equinox- and this year it happened to be about 22.45. We always spend the new year at my mum’s. They say that whatever you do exactly at that time, will set the tone for the next year, so we always gather around the Haftsin, give thanks for the year and blessings we have enjoyed and think about what we pray for, for the year ahead. As the countdown starts (on the live Persian channel or radio!) we count with it and as the new year rings in we all kiss and say ‘Norooz Mubarak’ or ‘Eydetoun mobarak’.

My mum will always put our ‘eydee’ (new year gift) as money notes in the pages of the poetry book, and we pull it out. WE then keep all the notes in our purse for good luck- you’re not supposed to spend it. I have around 20 notes from the past years! (I have spent a couple when in desperate need in the past, stuck somewhere with no access to money!)

On Norooz, we eat ‘Sabzi Pollo Mahi’ (Fish and saffron rice mixed with herbs) and ‘Kokoo Sabzi’ (herbs Kokoo)- it’s delicious and something we all look forward to! This year it marked year 7040 in the ancient Persian calendar. Wishing all my fellow Iranians a happy Norooz and everyone else a wonderful Spring!

Sabzi Pollo Mahi + Kokoo Sab

This is an extremely personal blog- one which I had hoped not to be forced to write, but feel I now need to. I want to put an end to the abuse I receive from ignorant people who simply judge me for my name and set the record straight.

My name is Melody Hossaini, I was born in Iran, grew up in Sweden with my family and have lived in the UK for the past 17 years. Over the past 3 years, I have been receiving a lot of extremely ignorant comments on my online social platforms from Muslims who judge me against my surname and automatically believe I am Muslim.

Comments such as ‘Melody is a bit*h for eating haram food’, or ‘You don’t deserve your surname’ and other comments which are too rude to repeat.

Firstly, your spiritual choices and your relationship with your God is a private one. One which you should not be forced to explain nor be judged against, which is why I have consistently ignored comments, deleted them and simply challenged the abuse by encouraging an open mind, and reminded them that it’s wrong to judge someone against your own personal beliefs.

Although I felt I should never have to explain myself, I want to. I am Persian, of Persian background and prior to Iran becoming a Muslim country, it was in fact Zoroastrian. Zoroastrianism is one of the oldest religions of time. It is in fact, what Christianity and Islam even stemmed from and dates back to the beginning of time. The symbol is at the top of this post. Zoroastrians believe in the 3 elements of:

  • Think Good Thoughts
  • Say Good Words
  • Do Good Deeds

Zoroastrians believe that free choice is a gift from God and that you should exercise it (which is why Zoroastrianism is often not even thought of as a religion and more of a school of thought- it isn’t prescriptive). The notion of giving, environment and charity are also strong pillars of the ethos. As well as this, the 4 elements of earth, fire, wind and air first formed out of Zoroastrianism.

My surname may be ‘Hossaini’ (which wasn’t my grandparents real name even, it was a name they changed to in order to fit into an Islamic country of Iran) but that doesn’t determine my belief. I am Zoroastrian and am led by a belief of giving, of helping and a strong moral compass (like any other faith).

The main reason for writing this is to expand people’s thinking. You can believe in something, but you can not put that belief on others. I do not take kindly to people using abuse and disgusting behaviour to force their way of life onto me (regardless of my beliefs). Expand your thinking, judge people less and worry about your own life. To all those who say I have forgotten my roots- it’s the opposite.

The main aspects that we are judged against (I’m talking bottom line) is if we give to people, if we’re kind, if we live well and show gratitude- and this hasn’t anything to do with religion, this is pure humanity. You are not defending the honour of anything by being abusive. Think.

With Love and Peace,

Melody