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Monday, 13 January 2014 11:59

Eid-didany = Eat ’til you’re beat A very special Iranian New Year tradition

Eid-didany = Eat ’til you’re beat A very special Iranian New Year tradition

Noruz is a time of rejuvenation in Iran. It’s a time for spring cleaning, planting flowers in the garden and buying new clothes. A few days before Noruz, a remarkable change in nature takes place.


According to Cultural and Social website, Fruit trees blossom and cities become blanketed with the intoxicating aroma of a cloud of pink blossoms. Following nature’s lead, Iranians shrug off the winter doldrums and come to life as well. They begin 12 days of a fantastic custom called Eid-didany: Visiting family and friends.

They remain undaunted by the fact that their extended families and friends could easily number in millions. They still must visit every single one of them. The families may live in other towns and other countries, or indeed they may have been abducted by aliens and may reside on other planets. Still, Iranians must visit everyone during Noruz. For 12 frantic days, people exchange visits euphorically. Often enough, you can’t visit everyone during those 12 days, and so you must schedule some time after Noruz to make your visits. I know people who’re still catching up with their overflow visits from 40 years ago. This is all because Noruz is a time for joy… and overeating.



The major difference between Christmas and Noruz is the guilt factor. After Christmas you’re bombarded by reminders of how it’s time to pay for your overeating sins and make a resolution to not eat another bite for the rest of the New Year to lose the weight. Now, contrast that with Noruz. The Iranian hospitality requires the hosts to lavishly treat their visitors to large piles of fruits and dishes full of pastry and nuts strategically located in the middle of the living room so that during your whole visit the food would be staring you in the face.

This custom isn’t limited to Noruz, by the way. It could be for the slightest of reasons. You could stop by to pick up a book from you neighbor’s house, and you’re instantly dragged inside and are told to eat goodies or else. And you will do so if you’re interested in walking out of there intact. The funny thing is as you leave, the hosts complain bitterly that “you didn’t eat anything.” Furthermore, no matter how many years and how many thousands of dollars (equal to billions of rials) they spent to prepare for the elaborate feast, they’ll be sure to remind you that “it wasn’t ANY trouble whatsoever.” Okay, then. And don’t try to argue with that. Because they may use force to convince you that it was no trouble.



During Noruz round robin of visitations, you eat lots of nuts, fruits and pastries sitting after sitting in the course of your Eid-didany, but there is no guilt afterwards. In fact, the hosts make sure there is guilt only if you don’t eat. You get fatter every year until when your arteries clog up sufficiently and you drop dead.

Then your family throws another big get-together with more great food — dates, halva and Chelo-kabob. (The difference between life and a funeral is that in life, first you eat and then you die, while in a funeral first somebody dies and then you eat.) You just eat your fair share to accelerate aging and contribute to the cycle of partying, dying and partying some more.


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