What is the date today?

What is the date today?

I used to be able to answer this question quite easily, but since moving to Qom, I am usually left searching frantically for my phone.

Today is the 5th of Dey. Year? 1395.

You see in Iran, they go by the Iranian calendar. The Iranian calendar coincides with the seasons, so the first day falls on the 21st of every Gregorian (or miladi) month. The new year, Nawrooz, starts with the first day of Spring, or March 21.

The countries of Iran and Afghanistan both follow the solar Hijri calendar. (But the Afghan months are named differently than the Iranian months). The year count starts with the migration of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) to Madina.

The year is divided into 12 months. The first 6 months have 31 days, and the next 5 months have 30 days. And the last month, Esfand, has 29 days in a common year and 30 days in a leap year.

I found this awesome app to help me figure out what day it is.

screenshot_2016-12-25-14-17-12

So now that I regularly converse in three different languages, I am also fluent in three different calendars – the Gregorian one, the Islamic one, and now the Iranian one.

Here is the breakdown of the Iranian calendar:

  • Spring (Bahar)
    Farvardin
    Ordibehesht
    Khordad
  • Summer (Tabestan)
    Teer
    Mordad
    Shahrivar
  • Fall (Payeez)
    Mehr
    Aban
    Azar
  • Winter (Zamestan)
    Dey
    Bahman
    Isfand

The different calendar makes for interesting conversations regarding birthdays or other important dates. Usually when you sign up for something you are asked for your birthdate or the day’s date. And it’s not the Gregorian one or the Islamic one they are asking for. To make life easier I have converted our kids’¬†birthdays to the Iranian calendar so I am not left struggling at the last minute.

Dates are really important in Iranian culture, too. Often you will see roads named for important dates, like 15 Khordad, 19 Dey, etc.

 

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Saying ‘no’ with your eyebrows

Saying ‘no’ with your eyebrows

It caught me totally by surprise. Here we were newly arrived in Qom, and we had to visit a local shop. I asked the owner if he had a certain item (can’t recall now what it was). He didn’t have it, but instead of saying “no,” he just raised his eyebrows.

So I started looking for the item in another direction.

“Na, na daram.”

My husband (who knew a little Farsi before we moved to Qom) says to me,”He doesn’t have it.”

Sometimes if you’re lucky, the raised eyebrows are accompanied by a little click from the mouth, and moving the face in upwards.

My younger daughter has, of course, learned just the eyebrows.

“Marium, did you put away your toys?”

All I get are raised eyebrows.

One day, after Fatima Zahra had started school in Qom, she came home and responded to one of my questions with the click and eyebrows. Uh no, not in this house.

I calmly told her that in our house when you need to say no, you will say no.

Suffice it to say, I have never had to remind my kids again.

It definitely takes many people off guard, especially those with no prior experience with any Iranians.

While I first found it quite rude, especially when my daughter responded to me in that manner, since almost everyone does it, you pretty much get used to it.