A new year again: Happy Norouz

We’ve been making phone calls to Iran to wish everybody a happy new year. Another new year has arrived in Iran and I can’t even grasp the meaning of it anymore. Maybe it’s because there are no reminders here on the streets that I walk, the stores I go in, or even on the smiles that no longer spell out Christmas. There are no pictures of Sofreh Haft sin (the traditional symbol of the Persian New Year) or songs that announce the New Year’s arrival. So maybe it’s only fair that I don’t feel particularly happy.
But I don’t feel nostalgia either…is that okay?
I’m walking outside, still feeling the trace of cold that winter has stubbornly left behind, and I’m not in the mood to think of Norouz (Persian New Year). I’m simply walking away, doing the tasks I do everyday, and I don’t feel that there’s been any change. I don’t want to walk away, but I have no choice at this point. I am and will continue to be a stranger in a land that I still call mine.
I wish a happy new year to all who celebrate this Norouz and hope they understand that I mean it from the bottom of my heart. The concept of Norouz might have lost its meaning for me because of circumstantial issues, but the meaning of new beginnings has not.
I can only count on my Norouz memories as a child to remember what it meant and what it felt like.
Here today, I can only imagine what people are doing at this time…buying new clothes, cleaning their houses, renewing their lives…the meaning of “Happy New Year” will remain universal, while my feelings will simply be my own.

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