Extend Your Spring Celebrations!

Well, it is past the days of NoRuz in Persia (a celebration for the first ten days of spring) and spring is close to ending here in the midwest but we are extending our celebration! Here is a sample from our it Fifth Grade Ancient Cultures Block (we do this two week lesson, The Ten Days of Spring, with all ages).

This is a sample only. For day 1 & 2, the rest of day 3 and day 4 – 10 you can order  our April Enrichment lesson plans or the Ten Days of Spring lesson e-book. Remember – you don’t have to start the ten days on the first day of spring. We are sharing poetry and songs and stories from Christian, Muslim, Zoastrian, Traditional and Other Persian sources during these ten days.

Day Three

On the third day we will tell a story about poetry and poetic justice. This goes well with the Samagh (sumac berries) which represent the sun and the triumph of good over evil. In this story the Caliph learns that good DOES triumph over his evil intentions. And how could we forget the traditional song for Noruz itself AND of course, no Persian lesson is ever complete without Rumi. Did you know he is actually the most popular poet in America today? Amazing! I found a wonderful poem by him that includes the sun. I also included two lovely poems at the end for the parents or your older children. The first, about crying is so beautiful. The first days of Spring always make me want to cry a bit – it is like a release of all that pent up energy from the winter and is a wonderful cleansing of the soul. The second poem about “myself” can be for you or it can also be recited with an older child and go with the NoRuz table item of the mirror.

Traditional NoRuz Song

Haji Firuz-e / Sal-i ye ruz-e حاجی فیروزه / سالی یه روزه

Hame midunan / Manam midunam همه میدونن / منم میدونم

Eyd-e Nowruz-e / Sal-i ye ruz-e عید نوروزه / سالی یه روزه

It’s Haji Firuz /

only one day a year Everyone knows /

I know as well it is Nowruz/

It’s only one day a year.

Note: This is usually sung on the first day of Noruz. However, the celebrations go on for ten days. And I do have to admit, one of my favorite things about celebrating holidays from over the seas is that my kids won’t notice if I am a day or two behind – LOL J

Ruba’ie #199 – Part Two – Rumi

Behold the day!
Before the sun’s resplendent ray
No candle that did ever flame
But hangs its head in shame.

Rôz âmad -ô- rôz
har cherâgî ke fûrôkht,
Dar shû’leh-e âftab jûz rûsvâ nîst.


Rôz = Day
Âmad = Came, arrived
Ô = also can be written “va” means and
Har = Each, every
Cherâg = Lamp
Ke = That, which
Fûrôkht = Kindled
Dar = Before
Shû’leh = Ray, flame
Âftâb = The Sun
Jûz = Except, but
Rûsvâ = Disgrace

The Poet’s Triumph
Once upon a time in Baghdad there lived a famous caliph, well known for his love of literature and poetry. The caliph was a wise man, and he had a remarkable memory. Whenever he heard someone recite a poem, he memorized it.

Now the caliph wished to open a grand library, but he was also greedy, and so he came up with a plan to save money. You see, in the caliph’s court there was a servant who also had an astonishing memory. This man could memorize anything he’d heard more than once.

With this in mind, the caliph announced to all the poets that he was seeking poetry to purchase for the library. He invited all the writers to come to court and recite their work, and for original work, he would reward the creator with a sum of money equal in weight to the material on which the work was composed.

Poets lined up at the courthouse steps, eager to read their work to the caliph.

The first man entered and bowed. “I shall read you an ode,” he announced.

“And is it original?” the caliph asked.

“It is,” the poet said.

“Let me warn you,” the caliph said, “if anyone in this court already knows this work, I shall know you are telling a lie. Now, please begin.”

And so the poet read his work aloud.

When he had finished, the caliph cleared his throat, and without a moment’s hesitation, he recited every word he had just heard. When he finished he said, “You claim those are your words, and yet I have just proven to you that this poem is already known.”

“But sir,” the poet protested, “I swear these words are mine and mine

“Very well,” the caliph said, “we shall make one more test,” and so he called the servant who had been listening the whole time; he, of course, had heard the poem twice.

The servant stood before the caliph and the poet, and he too recited the poem, word for word.

“Ah,” the caliph said, stroking his chin, “even my servant knows this work. We cannot pay for words that are not yours.”

The poet bowed his head in shame and shuffled away.

The next poet entered. Once again the caliph asked his questions, and once again, as soon as the poet finished reading his work, the caliph and then his servant recited those very words. Once again the poet departed in shame.

This went on for hours.

Now one of the caliph’s friends, also a poet, was listening closely all this time, and because he knew of the caliph’s fine memory, he was suspicious. He came up with a plan of his own to test the caliph’s promise.

He had long before composed a piece of 10,000 difficult and complicated verses. He etched the words upon an enormous slab of marble, and when he had finished, he and his friends placed the slab upon the back of a camel. In this way they transported the work to the caliph’s courtroom.

Wearing a disguise so that the caliph did not recognize him, the caliph’s friend announced that he too wished to read a piece.

Once again the caliph announced his rules, and the poet began.

He read for hours, and as he read, the caliph began to sweat. The words were far too complicated even for the caliph, and as the time passed, he realized he would not be able to play his trick upon this poet.

Just as the sun began to set, the poet finished reading.

The caliph smiled. “It is a beautiful poem,” he said, “and obviously it is original. Bring forward your manuscript so that I can weigh it, and we shall pay you.”

His friend bowed. “I hope the caliph will forgive me, but I had no paper, so I wrote this upon a slab of marble.”

The caliph stared in amazement as a group of men carried the heavy slab forward. “I see,” he said, again and again, but he knew he would have to pay a great sum of money, for a caliph must never break his word. “You shall be paid,” he said.

And then his friend smiled and removed his disguise. “I have done this only to teach the caliph something,” he explained. “The poets are not wealthy men; their wealth is in their words. You have been unfair by using your memory to trick them. Whatever you can spare, you ought to pay them, for payment will cause you no hardship but bring some ease to their lives, and so they will create more and more works of beauty. In this way the world will be a better place.”

The caliph understood, and he agreed, but he could not help himself. He still longed to test his people.

And so, the next day when a poet came to court, the caliph listened to his poem. When the poet was finished, the caliph said, “You have a choice. I will pay you in gold from our treasury, or I will offer you three pieces of invaluable wisdom.”

Naturally the poet did not want the caliph to think him greedy or uninterested in the caliph’s wisdom, and so he answered, “Your wisdom is worth more than any treasure, Caliph.”

The caliph was pleased to hear this, and he began. “First, make sure you do not wear clothes that are worn through. Second, when you work, take great care with your words. And third …”

But before the caliph could complete his sentence, the poet cried out, “Wait! Please keep your third piece of advice and give me one-third of my reward in gold.”

The caliph nodded, and he paid the poet for one-third of his work. He never wanted anyone to say the caliph was unfair.

Some Rumi for the Parents or Older Children
Ruba’ie #241
Leap, leap!
for the rhyme
Of the soul is afoot;
The sweet drum keeps time
With the soft reed’s note.
Sorrow’s fires of old
More fiercely leap;
Let thy grief be told;
It is time to weep.

Bar jah!
ke Samâ’-e rôh
bar pâ shûdeh ást,
V-ân Daf chô shekar harîf-e ân nây shûdeh ást.
Sôdây-e qadîm âtash afzây shûdeh ást,
An hây-e tô kô?
ke vaqt-e heyhât shûdeh ást.

Bar jah! = Leap
Ke = That
Samâ’ = Whirling, the Sufi dance
Rôh = Soul, spirit
Bar pâ = Afoot, rise up
Shûdeh ast = Has become
V-ân = “Va ân”, and that
Daf = Drum
Chô = Like, liken
Shekar = Sugar
Harîf = Campanion, friend
Ân = That
Nây = “Ney”, Reed
Sôdâ = Passion
Qadîm = Old
Âtash = Fire
Afzây = Increasing, leap
Hây =Grief, moarn
Tô = Youkô? = Where is it?
Vaqt = Time
Heyhât = Alas, here means weep, cry

Ruba’ie #77
For years, copying other people,
I tried to know myself.
From within, I couldn’t decide what to do.
Unable to see, I heard my name being called.
Then I walked outside.

Yek chand be Taqlîd ghôzîdam khûd râ,
Dar khûd bûdam,
zân nasazîdam khûd râ.
Nâdîdeh hamî nâm shanîdam khûd râ,
Az khûd cho borôn shudam, bédîdam khûd râ.

Taqlid = Imitation, copy
Ghozidan = to choose, to select
Sazidan = to deserve,
Nasazidan is the negative form of the verb.
Shanidan = to listen
Bedidan = to see
Khud rAa = myself

Note: m at the end of all verbs refer to “I”, for example, Shanidam means I listened. Bedidam, I saw…

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