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Swap Easter eggs with Nowruz eggs

“Actions [‘mal] are judged by intentions [niyyat]” (Holy Hadith)

Colourful eggs remind me of family picnics on Norwuz day to al-Zawra’ park in Baghdad when I was a kid. Everyone came bringing their best made meals, my grandmother’s dolma was always (and still is) a winner. The day before, we would boil eggs and colour them so that we could exchange them with our relatives and cousins who also brought their colourful eggs to the picnic. These picnics ceased during the mid 1990s when sanctions hit hard and picnics were seen as pointless as the parks were neglected and people’s mood could not afford such luxury. However, Nowruz remained a holiday in Iraq which was officially recognised by the Iraqi government. After 1991, its name slightly changed in Iraqi media to “Spring Festival” (عيد الربيع) as the word “Nowruz” is Kurdish and the government wanted to avoid mentioning them especially since it represents a celebration of freedom in Kurdish culture.

“Nowruz” means new day denoting the beginning of a vivid colourful spring after a deadly cold winter. Also, the equal length of day and night during equinox symbolizes the struggle between light and darkness; good and evil. Of course, this latter fact was realised later and it is secondary to the idea of spring’s re-birth after winter. This re-birth is the shared theme between all springtime celebrations in civilizations and religions. Mesopotamians celebrated Dumuzi‘s coming to life from the underworld to spend half the year with his beloved Inanna. Their love made earth green with blossoming flowers. It was then celebrated in ancient Iran where it gained the name Nowruz. In ancient Egypt it was celebrated too, then in one year when the Jews decided to leave Egypt they chose that day which became Passover. In Christianity, it coincided with the resurrection of Christ which is celebrated as Easter.

During the expansion of Islamic civilisation, this celebration was observed by Persians (as Nowruz), in Egypt (as Sham il-Naseem), by Christians (as Easter) and by the Jews ( as Passover). Some Islamic views objected to celebrating this day as Resurrection and Passover, while Sham il-Naseem and Nowruz were tolerated on the notion that 1)they celebrated spring; and 2) there is no conflicting religious belief linked to it. Also, according to some notable Muslim scholars, fasting is encouraged on Nowruz [see question no. 13].

Coloured eggs during spring season are the common factor between all these celebrations over history. The eggs which symbolise new life, and colourful decorations which symbolise spring, became a universal well-wishing gift between mankind. If this is our collective intention [ni-yya] then our collective actions [‘mal] are as well-wishing. After all, we are all from Adam, and Adam was from turaab.

Eggshell masterpiece by Franc Grom.

6 Comments on “Swap Easter eggs with Nowruz eggs”

  1. Ali D April 3, 2010 at 5:17 pm #

    Just wanted to thank you Ahmed- very informative!

    • Ahmed Al-Saeed April 3, 2010 at 8:24 pm #

      You’re most welcome Ali.

  2. Homam Al-Bahrani April 4, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    thank you very interesting article

  3. kamal October 11, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    i want to now

  4. kamal October 11, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    i want to now about this

    • Ahmed Al-Saeed October 11, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

      Dear Kamal, what do you wish to know?

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