passport to the world
TO THE WORLD
TO THE WORLD
Passport to the World © 2008
WELCOME TO PASSPORT TO PERSIA!
Take your passport to every activity coordinator to get your stamps!
Travel the world at Chicago Children’s Museum!
This book belongs to________________________________
print name here
SCHEDULE OF PERFORMANCES IN
THE GREAT HALL
MAP OF CCM
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Ey Iran Performance - Chicago Persian School Students
Babak and Friends Screening
Mixed Nuts Preview – Norooz Productions
Norooz Poem Performance-Chicago Persian School
Ghasemi 4J Dance Performance-Ghasemi Family
Violin Performance- Roya Zandi
Hasani Skit - Chicago Persian School Students
Classical Performance/Workshop- UIC Students
Chaie Chaie Dance Performance - Chicago Persian School
UIUC PCA Dance Performance
Sunday, March 16, 2007
Babak & Friends Cartoon Screening
Mixed Nuts Preview-Norooz Productions
Violin Performance-Roya Zandi
Classical Performance/Workshop-UIC Students
Pick up your event passport! Carry it with you and get it stamped at each
activity you participate in!
When do you celebrate the New Year? Stop by the
display case to learn more about the New Year celebrations in America,
and Chinese and Persian cultures.
Explore the smells, sights, and feel of spices used in Persian foods.
Paint a wooden egg to take home!
Haft Seen-Haft Sheen
Enjoy a display of items used by Persians to celebrate their New Year.
Visit “Uncle New Year,” and receive a gift of chocolate coins
and free kids’ meal at Rain Forest Cafe.
Get all of your stamps in your passport to qualify for raffle prizes!
Visit the bookmark table to have your name written in Persian and take it home!
Persian culture has transcended the world for millennia, and influenced
countless cultures and civilizations, adding to the intricate mosaic that is
Past: The Persian Empire was founded in 550 BC by Cyrus the Great and
was the largest state in history at that time. Cyrus the Great, a Zoroastrian
ruler, was the first to declare “Human Rights” when slavery was a norm in
many societies. Persia (Ancient Iran) not only had banned it, but also paid
the Persian and foreign work force and provided maternity leave for women
workers. Men and women were equal; there were female navy admirals, and
even rulers of the country.
When Cyrus conquered Babylon, he freed all
captive people, including the Jews, who had remained in bondage for 70 years.
He helped restore all the temples destroyed by the Babylonians, including
King Solomon’s Temple. At its height, Persia stretched from the eastern
Mediterranean and North Africa to the Indus Valley and Central Asia.
Present: The diverse cultures throughout this immense geographic space have
retained many elements and contributions left by the Persians. The territory,
known today as Iran, was known as Persia for centuries. In 1935, Persia was
renamed Iran in an effort to identify and establish ties with Germany prior
to World War II. Iran in Farsi means Arian, or Land of the Aryans.
Persian Ethnicities and Religions
Iranians are among one of them most ethnically and religiously diverse
cultures of the world. This is what makes them so rich and colorful.
Listed below are some of the Iranian religions and ethnicities:
•Religions: Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Baha’i Faith
•Ethnicities: Persians, Azaris, Armenians, Assyrians,
Baluchis, Gilakis, Kurds, Lurs, Mazanderanis, Turkmens
Persians Outside of Iran
Over 80% of Iranian Americans are US Citizens; over 11% are permanent
residents. (Iranian American Survey of 2004, www.iasurvey.org)
The Iranian-American community is considered among the most educated
and successful minority groups in US. (Based on US 2000 census bureau)
The median income in the US is currently approximately $43,000; almost
70% of Iranian Americans have an income over $50,000 or more.
(Iranian American Survey of 2004, www.iasurvey.org)
WHEN DO YOU CELEBRATE THE NEW
YEAR? JANUARY, FEBRUARY, OR MARCH?
Persian New Year is known as Norooz. The Persian New Year
is celebrated at the Vernal Equinox. This year’s celebrations
will be on Wednesday, March 19, 2008, 11:48 PM (CST).
Norooz History - New Years Roots
The celebration of the New Year is the oldest of all holidays.
It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago.
Different cultures have adopted various ways of celebrating
the beginning of a new year. The word Norooz, meaning
New Day, is the most anticipated celebration for Persians.
This occasion has been celebrated in one form or another by
all the major cultures of ancient Mesopotamia. The Assyrians
know this day as Kha B’Nissan.
Today’s traditions have been modified, but they have kept
their symbolic meanings through Norooz. This tradition is
continued through an elaborately-prepared spread, similar
to modern analogues of the seven offerings set out for the
Sa’at-tahvil, the New Year time, is an important moment, as it
is a time for forgiving each other, putting away petty differences, and looking forward to building more constructive
relationships. The countdown is followed carefully on the radio
and television, as the family gathers around the Haft Seen.
Gifts, usually money called Aidi, placed inside the chosen
Scripture are exchanged, given by older to younger family
members. After the celebration, the next 13 days are spent
visiting families and friends.
Haft Sheen items:
Haft Seen- Haft Sheen Sofreh
The Sofreh is the spread around which the family gathers
to celebrate the New Year. Families either put out a Haft
Seen or a Haft Sheen. The word Haft means seven and
Seen stands for the “S” or ﺱin the Persian alphabet.
Sheen stands for “Sh” or ﺶin the alphabet. It contains
the seven specific items starting with “s” or “sh”. The
Sofreh is prepared a few days before Norooz and remains
for about two weeks after. In addition to the seven items,
you may place additional items on the Sofreh that will
signify renewal, happiness, wealth, or good health. The
celebration is one of hope, promise and good fortune.
Items common to both Haft Seen and Haft Sheen:
• Mahi or Gold Fish represents life and the end of the
astral year associated with the constellation Pisces.
• Ayne or Mirror brings light and brightness into the New
Year and is placed at the head of the Sofreh.
• Tokhm-e Morgh or Decorated Eggs symbolizes fertility.
• Holy Scriptures placed in the middle of the Sofreh
symbolize blessings and faith in the New Year.
•Sham or Candles symbolizes fire and energy placed on
either side of the mirror.
•Sharab or Wine symbolizes health and happiness.
•Shekar or Sugar symbolizes sweetness.
•Sheer or Milk, the first food one tastes, symbolizes
•Sheereh or Syrup symbolizes vigorous health.
•Shahd or Honey, the product of cooperative bees,
symbolizes the result of team work.
•Sheereeni or Sweets, Pastries or candy Symbolizes
the sweetness of life.
AMOO NOROOZ AND YOUR EIDI
(NEW YEAR’S GIFT!)
Find Amoo Norooz or “Uncle New Year” in the
museum to get your chocolate coins and free kids meal,
compliments of Rain Forest Café! www.rainforestcafe.com
Haft Seen items:
Haft Seen items:
• Sabzeh or Spring Sprouts signifies rebirth and renewal.
• Senjed is the sweet fruit of a lotus tree. The fragrant and
blooming fruit signify love and affection.
• Sib or Apple is a large red apple representing health
• Samanoo or Wheat Pudding—Wheat and wheat
products signify sweetness and fertility.
• Serkeh or Vinegar signifies age and patience.
• Somagh or Crushed Sumac Berries—The S symbolizes
the spice of life.
• Seer or Garlic - This medicinal S is a sign of good
• Sekeh or Coins represents wealth and prosperity.
• Sonbol or Hyacinth Flower —The purple or pink
hyacinth represents life and beauty.
Amoo Norooz is a distant cousin of our Haji Firooz.
The old Haji, named Firooz, is the troubadour who ushers
in the New Year with song, dance, and merriment. Haji
Firooz symbolizes the rebirth of the Sumerian god of
sacrifice, Domuzi. Wearing an elaborate red costume, he
sings and dances through the streets with tambourines and
trumpets, spreading joy for Norooz.
CULTURAL PERFORMANCES AN
We are proud to bring you a great selection of
performers and presenters who showcase our great
culture. Each day brings a new set of talent for
you to enjoy.
The volunteers wearing traditional Persian outfits will
have stamps for all the shows that you have enjoyed!
Persian music is very distinct. Iranians pride themselves
on the variety of instruments used and created in Iran,
such as the Tonbak, Santoor, Kamancheh, and the Daf.
Although an assortment of these instruments exist in
other cultures, many of them take origin in ancient Persia. The Tonbak is a goblet-like drum and is the nation’s
official drum instrument.
Decorated Egg (Tokhm-e Morgh) is an item placed in
the family spread in anticipation of the Persian New
Year. The egg symbolizes fertility. This activity is common in many different cultures for festivities throughout
the year. Eggs are painted by children, much like Easter
eggs are painted in America. They can be as elaborate
as desired. Paint an egg to take home to put on your
Sofreh or in an Easter Basket!
In Persian dance, upper-body motion is emphasized,
with hand motions, trunk undulations, and facial
expressions being points of attention. The movements
of Persian classical dance mostly involve the upper body:
the face, head, torso, and hands. Professional dancers may
also dance with tea glasses or finger cymbals to mark the
rhythm. The movements require extreme upper-body
flexibility and grace and varied facial expressions, including moving both eyebrows independently. Persian classical
dance emphasizes feelings and emotions, rather than just
Persian cuisine is rich in herbs and spices. The most
famous of the herbs is saffron, known for it strong color
and intense flavor and aroma. Other common herb/spices
used in many Persian dishes include cinnamon, parsley,
and turmeric. Visit the table to play the games!
Visit volunteers to have your names written in Persian
on keepsake bookmarks.
Despite conventional Western assumptions, Persian cuisine
is not all kabobs and meat (although kabobs are an integral
part of the cuisine). The staple of any Persian kitchen
is the traditional white rice, the main ingredient in many
dishes and also the backbone of all the Khoresht dishes.
Khoreshts are traditional Persian stews. They come in a
variety of colors and tastes and are always served over rice.
All Iranians learn and speak Persian (Farsi ) at school,
as Persian is the official language. Since only about
half of Iranians speak Persian as a first language
(the ethnic Persians), it’s used as more of a link language
on the national level, and the rest of the population
learns to speak it as a second language. Non-Persians
usually speak their respective language at home, the
most common of which are Assyrian, Azari, Kurdish,
Gilaki, Luri, Baluchi, Turkmen, Talyshi, Tati, and
Mazanderani. Languages related to Persian not spoken
in Iran include Ossetic (Georgia and Russia), Pashtu
and Wakhi (Afghanistan), and Tajiki and Yagnobi
(Tajikistan and China).
Persian (Farsi) is the Iranian language belonging to
the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European family
of languages. Persian is one of the world’s oldest
languages, with records dating back to the Persian
Empire of the 6th century BC. Persian has been a
medium for wide-ranging literary and scientific
contributions to the Islamic world as well as Western
civilization. It is written from right to left, instead of
left to right as in the English language. The cursive
style of Persian writing, called khataati, is commonly
practiced as a form of decorative art.
You can have your name written in Persian on a
bookmark for you to decorate and take home!
Thank you to all of the following individuals and organizations for your enthusiasm,
energy, time and efforts to make Passport to the World: Persia an amazing success! It could
not have been done without you. If we missed anyone because this went to print before we
had your names, please know that we appreciate all of your efforts and extend our sincerest
gratitude for your support.
Babak and Friends
Chicago Children’s Museum
Chicago Persian School
Countrywide Home Loans
National Iranian American Council
On behalf of Chicago Children’s Museum and the Passport to Persia Committee,
THANK YOU to all participating and sponsoring organizations!
This program would not be possible without you.
University of Illinois
Zoroastrian Association of
Passport to the World © 2008