The Persian Nowruz

By : Iraj Bashiri

Introduction

The oldest of Iranian traditions, Nowruz (also referred to as eyd-i sar-i sal and eyd-i sal-i now) recalls the cosmological and mythological times of Iran. Its founder is a deputy of Ahura Mazda on earth, a position that imparts to him and the celebration a spiritual dimension and a particular sense of secular authority. The celebration is organized according to the dynamics of love between the Creator and his creation, the material world. The annual return of the spirits of the departed to their homes is celebrated by their offspring according to primordial rites of which only a faint trace remains among the Persians and the Parsees of today. But that in no way diminishes the importance of the bond which is refreshed at every Nowruz. Continue reading The Persian Nowruz

The Life of Cyrus The Great

[1.1.1] The thought once occurred to us how many republics have been overthrown by people who preferred to live under any form of government other than a republican, and again, how many monarchies and how many oligarchies in times past have been abolished by the people. We reflected, moreover, how many of those individuals who have aspired to absolute power have either been deposed once for all and that right quickly; or if they have continued in power, no matter for how short a time, they are objects of wonder as having proved to be wise and happy men. Then, too, we had observed, we thought, that even in private homes some people who had rather more than the usual number of servants and some also who had only a very few were nevertheless, though nominally masters, quite unable to assert their authority over even those few.

[1.1.2] And in addition to this, we reflected that are the rulers of their horses, and that all who are called herdsmen might properly be regarded as the rulers of the animals over which they are placed in charge. Now we noticed, as we thought, that all these herds obeyed their keepers more readily than men obey their rulers. For the herds go wherever their keeper directs them and graze in those places to which he leads them and keep out of those from which he excludes them. They allow their keeper, moreover, to enjoy, just as he will, the profits that accrue from them. And then again, we have never known of a herd conspiring against its keeper, either to refuse obedience to him or to deny him the privilege of enjoying the profits that accrue. At the same time, herds are more intractable to strangers than to their rulers and those who derive profit from them. Men, however, conspire against none sooner than against those whom they see attempting to rule over them.
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About Society and Culture – Part 1

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The Egyptian civilization was one of the great civilizations that had deep-rooted values and persistent traditions. Despite the succession of different political rules, the Egyptian people kept their customs and traditions, most of which are still prevalent in daily life and social behaviors.

Being religious and acknowledging God’s grace is a common phenomenon in Egyptian society. Religious rituals are habitually practiced at home. In ancient Egypt, there were special mihrabs, or prayer niches, for the pictures of idols. In the Coptic era as well, pictures of Christ and the Virgin Mary were found in every house.

During the Islamic Age, verses of the Holy Qur’an, written in beautiful Arabic calligraphy, were popular in the homes. Adherence to religion, however, does not mean the Egyptians avoided the pleasant things in life; on the contrary, Egyptians joyfully embraced life, as evident in their jokes, songs, love chants, and folk arts. Continue reading About Society and Culture – Part 1

Culture of Ethnic Minorities in China

In order to inherit and develop the culture of ethnic minorities, the governments of all national autonomous regions and prefectures have established the associations of writers, operas, music, dancing, fine arts, movies and photography according to the actual situation in their regions. Universities and minority colleges in some of these regions have opened the major of ethnic minorities’ literature and some local governments have set up art schools of various types, including conservatory, drama school and movie school, in order to cultivate minority people with literary and artistic expertise as many as possible. Taking minority medicine for example, Tibetan, Mongolia and Uygur medical colleges as well as intermediate schools devoted to minorities’ medical study have been established in Tibet, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang. Continue reading Culture of Ethnic Minorities in China

Nationalities Whose Population Is above 5 Million

Han Nationality

Han people enjoy the largest population among China’s 56 nationalities and this population size also ranks first in the world. At present, the number of Han people has reached about 1.2 billion. Originally known as “Cathay”, Han people used to live in the central part of China; later, it assimilated and integrated with other nationalities and eventually boasts a 5 thousand years’ history of civilization. Since the beginning of Han Dynasty, the name “Han” was adopted to call this nationality. Han nationality has its own spoken and written language, which belong to Chinese-Tibetan language family. Its language falls into 8 categories of dialect, namely, dialect of northern China, dialect of south of the lower reaches of Yangtze River, Hunan dialect, Jiangxi dialect, Hakka dialect, dialect of southern Fujian, dialect of northern Fujian and Cantonese and the common language of these 8 dialects is Mandarin. Chinese letter is one of the most ancient letters in the world; it evolved from inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells of the Shang Dynasty and Nuchen letters and eventually became present-day Chinese characters. There are altogether over 80 thousand Chinese characters, among which about 7000 are commonly used. At present, Chinese has become one of the international languages. The staple food of Han people is grain crop and meat and vegetables are the non-staple foodstuffs. Over the long period of development, Han people have developed the habit of having three meals for each day and rice and flour serve as two major components of their staple food. In addition, other coarse crops, such as corn, sorghum, cereal and potato, are also part of the staple food in different regions of China. Due to various factors, there are varied types of cuisine in the food culture of Han people and when it comes to the Han and other nationalities’ preference of taste of food, people living in different parts of China are often termed as follows: the southern citizens are lovers of sweet food, the northern of salty food, the eastern of hot food and the western of sour food. At present, there are 8 typical cuisines with unique flavors in different parts of China, including Hunan cuisine, Sichuan cuisine, cuisine of northeastern China and Cantonese food. Wine and tea are two major beverages for Han people. Being the place of origin of tea and one of the first developers of brewing technology, China boasts long history of wine and tea culture. Except for wine and tea, some products made of fruits also serve as beverages for people in varied regions and seasons. There are myriads of festivals for Han people and China’s Lunar New Year is the most traditional one. Besides, the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month of lunar calendar, the Tomb-sweeping day on Apr.5th, the Dragon Boat Festival on the 5th day of the fifth lunar month and the Middle Autumn Day on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month are also important festivals. Continue reading Nationalities Whose Population Is above 5 Million

Ming Dynasty

The Ming dynasty began in 1368 when Zhu Yuanzhang was crowned in Nanjing. During his 31-year reign, Zhu Yuanzhang, or Emperor Taizu, further centralized power of the feudal autocracy. He executed many officials and often used violence in dealing with suspected conspirators. After Taizu’s death, his grandson ascended to the throne and became known as Emperor Jianwen. He was defeated by his uncle, Zhu Di, who made himself Emperor Chengzu. In 1421 he moved the capital to Beijing from Nanjing. Continue reading Ming Dynasty