“Monday Mornings” for Monday March 17, 2014
Volume IV, No. 11/167
Norooz, Persian (Iranian) New Year
By Assad Meymandi, MD, PhD, DLFAPA*
March 21, the first day of spring, vernal equinox, is also the first day of the Persian New Year. Iranians will celebrate year 5775 on Friday. The Persian people and the Persian civilization were there before Moses (1590 BC-1470 BC, lived to be 120 years) wrote the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament (scholarship not-withstanding)……
The Persians were there before the Code of Hammurabi, the Babylonian law code, was written in 1772 BC. Persia, the Persian Empire and Zoroaster gave humanity monotheism, and issued the first declaration of human rights. Persia was there before the Old and the New Testaments…. Avesta , the Zoroastrian Bible, was there before the Synoptic Gospels, the Gospel of John and the Book of Revelation…. Monotheism was exhorted in Gata and the Book of Gushtasb by Zarathustra before Moses wrote about Yahweh….The Zoroastrian code of conduct: “good thought, Good word, and Good deed” was there long before the Ten Commandments…
Cyrus the Great of Persia liberated the Jews 500 years BC (Babylonian Captivity). There are dozens of references made to him and to the Persian Empire in the Bible. In Isaiah 45 Cyrus is named Messiah. Additional references may be found in Chronicles, Ezra, Daniels, Hezekiah, Maccabees 1, Maccabees 2, Maccabees 3, Maccabees 4, Maccabees 5, Esdras, Sirach, and Esther.
The world’s first charter of human rights, Cyrus Cylinder, housed in the British Museum, has started its exhibition tour in the United States. It is being exhibited in Arthur M Sackler Gallery (the late Dr. Sackler was a psychiatrist). It has made the rounds in J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angles before returning back to British Museum. The writing is elegant cuneiform (Mikhi) script (link below).
And the Persian New Year, vernal equinox, when the day and night are equal and exactly 12 hours long, representing nature’s exquisite justice, was celebrated 5775 years ago, in the month of Edar Awal which followed the month of Shavat, as the Persian new year or Norooz. Therefore, on March 21, vernal equinox, we celebrate Norooz, the first day of the Persian calendar 5775.
We are Persians; we are inheritors of such dazzling history and civilization….And with humility and gratitude, we share this joyous occasion with all humanity. Happy Norooz (New Day, New Year) to All.
*The writer is Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill, Distinguished Life fellow American Psychiatric Association, and Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief, Wake County Physician Magazine (1995-2012). He serves as a Visiting Scholar and lecturer on Medicine, the Arts and Humanities at his alma mater the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health.