Yalda 2014: We had an Empire: right now it’s being remodelled

Yalda is on the 21st December this year. As I’m sure you all know, it’s the longest night of the year. The forces of Ahriman are at their peak of their strength. The next day is known as “khoram rooz” or “khore rooz” (the day of sun). It belongs to Ahura Mazda, the Lord of …

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Food and feasting in a Persian tree house

It seems only to be the King who gets to feast up in the tree-house in this gorgeous folio from a Khamsa of Amir Khusrau in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Wouldn’t that make conversation difficult, even there is a great view of the dancing? Maybe the courtiers down below are struggling with the ta’arof: …

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Song of the Acorn: a Bakhtiari poem

The holly-oak tree, with its large, oval acorns, used to cover the inner ranges of the Bakhtiari country. Now, environmental changes mean that it’s being lost. Lorimer describes how, in the old days of its abundance and “in time of scarcity [acorns] are ground into flour after prolonged treatment to get rid of their more …

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The Ballad of ‘Abdu Khalil: a Bakhtiari poem

This poem derides the excessive size and eating of ‘Abdu Khalil: the Khan’s agent to the Mulmuli section of the Raid tribe of the Haftlang. The ordinary people call on honour as they expect – or at least hope – that their Khan will hear their pleas for help: A seven-pole tent is his cloak: The …

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